face

1 of 2

noun

often attributive
1
a
: 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
3
a
: facial expression
a friendly face
b
: a facial expression of distaste or displeasure
he made a face when he saw the test results
c
: makeup sense 3a(1)
usually used in the phrase put one's face on
… I have never been the kind of woman who feels comfortable popping to the shops without putting my face on first.Vicki Michelle
4
a(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 faceKim 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 finished surface (as of a tool or implement)
The tendency of the belt is to slip over the face of the pulley in a counter clockwise direction.H. W. Harkness
Cans are made from … thin sheets of steel lightly coated with tin. This tin coating serves two purposes: it covers the face of the steel sheet, preserving it from rust; and it acts as a medium by which parts of a sheet may be made to adhere to one another by soldering.B. S. Luh et al.
(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
7
8
a
: 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

face

2 of 2

verb

faced; facing

transitive verb

1
: to confront impudently
faced him with evidence of treachery
2
a
: 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.
4
a
: 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
5
a
: to recognize and deal with straightforwardly
face the facts
b
: to master by confronting with determination
used with down
faced down his critics
6
a
: 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.
Phrases
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 the music
: to meet an unpleasant situation, a danger, or the consequences of one's actions

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
In the past, Russian officials have twisted themselves into knots trying to obfuscate the Kremlin’s connection to various assassinations around Europe, often in the face of clear evidence of state involvement. José Bautista, New York Times, 31 Mar. 2024 Yet, in the face of this data, both the Atlanta and St. Louis Federal Reserve District Banks are forecasting a stunning +2.3% growth rate for Q1 GDP. Robert Barone, Forbes, 30 Mar. 2024 Banners herald Los Angeles Dodgers megastar Shohei Ohtani and Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Yusei Kikuchi, their faces greeting every visitor. Hanako Montgomery, CNN, 30 Mar. 2024 Who is Bob Iger? Disney CEO Bob Iger has become the face of team Disney in this contest for shareholder votes. Bruce Gil, Quartz, 29 Mar. 2024 What’s more, the boats have funny faces printed on them and can be used for scooping water as well. Christin Perry, Parents, 29 Mar. 2024 Dutcher tried to offer soothing perspective in the face of a 30-point trip to the woodshed. Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, 29 Mar. 2024 Your face is your boarding pass: The TSA isn't the only one using facial scans. Christopher Elliott, USA TODAY, 29 Mar. 2024 The weakness of the PA’s civil functions contrasts with its strong security forces that ensure intra-Palestinian law and order but steps aside in the face of Israeli military operations and attacks from settlers. Raja Khalidi, Foreign Affairs, 19 Mar. 2024
Verb
Employers paying under $20 an hour will likely face stiffer competition for workers. Vanessa Romo, NPR, 1 Apr. 2024 The Bullfrogs will face different competition following the UIL realignment. Charles Baggarly, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 1 Apr. 2024 If convicted, Daybell could face the death penalty. Alex Brizee, Idaho Statesman, 1 Apr. 2024 The Kansas City Comets will face Utica City FC in the Eastern Conference semifinals to open the 2024 Ron Newman Cup Playoffs. Nathan Dunn, Kansas City Star, 1 Apr. 2024 Both risk areas will face storms able to produce damaging wind gusts, hail and a few tornadoes. Robert Shackelford, CNN, 1 Apr. 2024 On Tuesday, April 2, West Allis Mayor Dan Devine will face a challenge for his mayoral seat for the first time. Adrienne Davis, Journal Sentinel, 1 Apr. 2024 Also facing several funding reductions are programs aimed at helping children and legal services for victims. David Lightman, Sacramento Bee, 1 Apr. 2024 Vang faces one charge of felony child neglect while Elijah’s mother faces a felony charge of chronic child neglect, a second charge of felony child neglect involving a different child, and two misdemeanor charges of obstructing an officer, Herald Times Reporter reported. Amaris Encinas, USA TODAY, 20 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'face.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

Noun

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

Verb

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near face

Cite this Entry

“Face.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/face. Accessed 13 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

face

1 of 2 noun
1
: the front part of the head
2
a
: an expression of the face
a friendly face
b
: grimace
make a face
3
a
: outward appearance
on the face of it
b
: dignity sense 1, prestige
lose face
4
a
: a front, upper, or outer surface
the face of a cliff
b
: any of the flat surfaces that form the boundary of a solid in geometry
every cube has six faces
c
: a surface or side that is marked or specially prepared
the face of a certificate
d
: an exposed surface of rock
5
: the end (as of a mine tunnel) at which work is going on
6
: person
a lot of new faces around here

face

2 of 2 verb
faced; facing
1
a
: to line near the edge especially with a different material
face a hem
b
: to cover the front or surface of
faced the building with marble
2
: to meet face-to-face
faced the opposing team
face one's accusers
3
a
: to stand or sit with the face toward
face the class
b
: to have the front oriented toward
a house facing the park
4
a
: to recognize and deal with
face facts
b
: to oppose by confronting with determination
face down their critics
5
: to turn toward
face the east

Medical Definition

face

noun
often attributive
1
a
: 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

Legal Definition

face

noun
1
a
: 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 womenMarcia 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
3

More from Merriam-Webster on face

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