face

noun, often attributive
\ ˈfās \

Definition of face

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : the front part of the head that in humans extends from the forehead to the chin and includes the mouth, nose, cheeks, and eyes
b : the face as a means of identification : countenance would know that face anywhere
2 archaic : presence, sight
3a : facial expression a friendly face
b : a facial expression of distaste or displeasure he made a face when he saw the test results
4a(1) : outward appearance put a good face on it
(2) : the aspect of something that is perceptible or obvious upon superficial examination the theory is absurd on its face— Kim Neely
c(1) : assurance, confidence maintaining a firm face in spite of adversity
(2) : effrontery how anyone could have the face to ask that question
d : dignity, prestige afraid to lose face
5 : surface:
a(1) : a front, upper, or outer surface vanished from the face of the earth
(2) : the front of something having two or four sides the face of a clock
(3) : facade the face of a building
(4) : an exposed surface of rock
(5) : any of the plane surfaces that bound a geometric solid A cube is a solid with six square faces.
b : a surface specially prepared: such as
(1) : the principal dressed surface (as of a disk)
(2) : the right side (as of cloth or leather)
(3) : an inscribed, printed, or marked side the two faces of a coin
c : a striking surface (as of a tool) the face of the golf club the face of an anvil
d(1) : the surface (as of type) that receives the ink and transfers it to the paper
(2) : a style of type
6 : the end or wall of a mine tunnel, drift, or excavation at which work is progressing
8a : person lots of new faces around here
b professional wrestling : baby face sense 2 Randy Orton earned respect as a heel because of his cocky, overconfident persona. As a face, he's lost the smugness that defined his character and is struggling to find his identity.— Rennie Detore
in one's face
: directly and aggressively in one's presence dunked the ball in his face often used with get to describe aggressively confrontational speech or behavior his boss got in his face about being late
in the face of or less commonly in face of
: face-to-face with : despite fearless in the face of danger
to one's face
: in one's presence or so that one is fully aware of what is going on If you have something to say about me, say it to my face.

face

verb
faced; facing

Definition of face (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to confront impudently faced him with evidence of treachery
2a : to line near the edge especially with a different material
b : to cover the front or surface of faced the building with marble
3 : to meet face-to-face or in competition The team will face a tough opponent in its next game.
4a : to stand or sit with the face toward The teacher faced the class.
b : to have the front oriented toward a house facing the park
5a : to recognize and deal with straightforwardly face the facts
b : to master by confronting with determination used with down faced down his critics
6a : to have as a prospect : be confronted by face a grim future
b : to be a prospect or a source of concern for the problems that face us
c : to bring face-to-face he was faced with ruin
7 : to make the surface of (something, such as a stone) flat or smooth
8 : to cause (troops) to face in a particular direction on command The captain faced his company to the left.

intransitive verb

1 : to have the face or front turned in a specified direction The house faced south.
2 : to turn the face in a specified direction She faced to her left.
face the music
: to meet an unpleasant situation, a danger, or the consequences of one's actions

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Synonyms for face

Synonyms: Noun

countenance, kisser [slang], mug, pan [slang], puss [slang], visage

Synonyms: Verb

front, look (toward), point (toward)

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Examples of face in a Sentence

Noun

He has a round face. His face is familiar but I can't remember his name. I'll never forget the look on her face. He fell flat on his face. I didn't recognize any of the faces around the table. There are lots of new faces around the office.

Verb

The teacher faced the class. She turned around to face the window. He sat facing the wall. Turn and face to the east. The house faces the park. The living room faces the afternoon sun. My shoe was lying in the corner with its sole facing upward. The flower opens facing skyward. Look at the illustration on the facing page. Only by facing your problems can you hope to overcome them.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

All of this is reason for optimism in the face of adversity. Nicole Phelps, Vogue, "The Top 10 Shows of New York Fashion Week Fall 2019," 14 Feb. 2019 Other symptoms may include facial discoloration, such as redness in the face, as well as bodily tension. Kimberly Truong, SELF, "Hilary Duff Reveals Her Daughter Has Colic—and Asks for Help on Instagram," 4 Jan. 2019 For the better part of 200 years, roughly between 1600 and 1800, Amsterdam was one of the greatest entrepôts on the face of the earth, a global megastore to which the spoils of empire were shipped and from which they were sold on again. Steve King, Condé Nast Traveler, "Why We Keep Going Back to Amsterdam," 24 Dec. 2018 Because none of the underlying fundamental incentives to do such things have gone away AND because not enough has been done to prevent it in the face of incentives. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "How 3ve’s BGP hijackers eluded the Internet—and made $29M," 21 Dec. 2018 Just yesterday, while accepting a Crystal Award at Davos for his environmental leadership, Attenborough called once again for action in the face of a changing climate. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Watch Prince William's Talk with David Attenborough at Davos," 22 Jan. 2019 The models wore their hair pulled back into tight buns, and black lines painted on either side of their face, from their eyelids to their hairline—and the effect, well. Jenny Hollander, Marie Claire, "Can Someone Tell Me What Is Happening In This Fashion Show From Hell?," 15 Jan. 2019 But in the face of this existential threat, cities also present the best places to curb emissions: Though urban areas generate 70 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide, that also makes them a good place to start making a difference. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "As cities confront climate change, is density the answer?," 11 Dec. 2018 The episode aims for maximum creepiness, especially in its second half, when Simon notices that the aliens are constructing giant sculptures of his face out of sand. Noel Murray, The Verge, "Before Game of Thrones and Nightflyers, George R.R. Martin’s work inspired a great Outer Limits episode," 30 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Northam is far from the first to be criticized Other white politicians and celebrities have faced criticism for blackface performances. Jesse J. Holland, The Seattle Times, "Explaining the outrage: Racist history of American blackface began in the 1830s," 6 Feb. 2019 One key problem that has been raised for the past two years is many of our properties are facing recruitment problems. Kaitlin Menza, Town & Country, "Inside the Secret Application Process to Become a Relais & Châteaux Hotel," 31 Jan. 2019 One of the weirdest things to happen in 2018 (and let’s face it, there’s a lot to choose from) was the inexplicable sudden feud between Justin Bieber and YouTuber JoJo Siwa. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "The "Feud" Between Justin Bieber and JoJo Siwa Has Continued," 12 Jan. 2019 Let’s face it, not everyone uses Microsoft Word anymore. Maude Campbell, Popular Mechanics, "How to Use Google Docs," 9 Jan. 2019 Meanwhile, heir-in-exile Lysander au Lune, has returned, determined to bring peace back to humanity by resting control from the Gold families and facing down Darrow over Mercury. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "All the science fiction and fantasy books we’re looking forward to in 2019," 30 Dec. 2018 On January 15, Williams faced Tatjana Maria at the Australian Open in Melbourne. Halie Lesavage, Glamour, "Serena Williams Brought Back the Catsuit for the 2019 Australian Open," 15 Jan. 2019 The color faces on the right come from a paper published earlier this month, which uses the same basic method but is clearly a world apart in terms of image quality. James Vincent, The Verge, "These faces show how far AI image generation has advanced in just four years," 17 Dec. 2018 On the other, cities that don't manage that growth well can face growing inequality and housing shortages, among other problems. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "Apple will spend $1 billion and hire up to 15,000 people for new Austin office," 13 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'face.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of face

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for face

Noun

Middle English, borrowed from Anglo-French, going back to Vulgar Latin *facia (attested in early Medieval Latin as facia "portrait"), re-formation of Latin faciēs "appearance, aspect, form, human face," from fac-, stem of facere "to make, do" + -iēs, noun suffix, usually deverbal — more at fact

Verb

Middle English facen, verbal derivative of face face entry 1

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Learn More about face

Dictionary Entries near face

fac

FAC

facade

face

faceable

face-about

face and fill

Statistics for face

Last Updated

22 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for face

The first known use of face was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for face

face

noun

English Language Learners Definition of face

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the front part of the head that has the eyes, nose, and mouth on it
: a facial expression
: the way something appears when it is first seen or thought about

face

verb

English Language Learners Definition of face (Entry 2 of 2)

: to stand or sit with your face and body turned toward (something or someone)
: to have the front part toward (something)
: to be on the page that is opposite to (another page)

face

noun
\ ˈfās \

Kids Definition of face

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the front part of the head
2 : an expression of the face a sad face
3 : outward appearance It looks easy on the face of it.
4 : a funny or silly expression
5 : an expression showing displeasure
6 : respect entry 1 sense 1 He was afraid of losing face.
7 : a front, upper, or outer surface
8 : one of the flat surfaces that bound a solid a face of a cube

face

verb
faced; facing

Kids Definition of face (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to have the front or face toward The house faces east.
2 : to cover the front or surface of The building will be faced with marble.
3 : to oppose with determination face danger

face

noun, often attributive
\ ˈfās \

Medical Definition of face

1a : the front part of the human head including the chin, mouth, nose, cheeks, eyes, and usually the forehead
b : the corresponding part of the head of a lower animal
2 : surface especially : a front, upper, or outer surface

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face

noun

Legal Definition of face

1a : outward appearance
b : the surface or superficial reading or meaning of something (as a document or statute) that does not take into account outside information the face of [the] deed reveals that she had two purposes in mindState v. Rand, 366 A.2d 183 (1976) often used in the phrases on its face and on the face of is…neutral on its face but has a discriminatory effect on women— Marcia Coyle did not see on the face of the amendment that it was precisely directed at public as distinguished from private destructionO'Brien v. United States, 376 F.2d 538 (1967)
2 : the inscribed or printed side of something (as a document) broadly : the front side of something inscribed or printed on both sides the face of a stock certificate

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More from Merriam-Webster on face

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with face

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for face

Spanish Central: Translation of face

Nglish: Translation of face for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of face for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about face

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