face

noun, often attributive
\ ˈfās How to pronounce face (audio) \

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
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
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 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
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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for face

Synonyms: Noun

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

Synonyms: Verb

front, look (toward), point (toward)

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Here are 15-plus restaurants and businesses in the Louisville area that are serving up special meals or deals sure to put a smile on his face this Father's Day 2019. Gege Reed, The Courier-Journal, "Here are 15+ spots around Louisville to grab some grub with Dad for Father's Day," 10 June 2019 Instead, Hensh recalls sitting in the stands as an elementary school student with her face painted, pom-poms in hand and donning whatever uniform her older sister Taylor wasn’t wearing that day. Brent Kennedy, baltimoresun.com, "Hensh takes own path to Howard County girls lacrosse Player of Year honors," 10 June 2019 Queen Beyoncé stepped out for an NBA playoffs game with flawless, lightly bronzed skin, glossed lips and soft waves with golden highlights that framed her face. Vogue, "The Best Beauty Instagrams of the Week: Beyoncé, Jorja Smith, Rina Sawayama, and More," 9 June 2019 But with her casual dress, she could be confused with some of the parents who walk in, uncertainty written all over their faces. Mary Jo Pitzl, Arizona Republic, "The system took these parents' kids away. Now they're helping other parents get theirs back," 9 June 2019 The stylized drawings are a way to keep keep their faces in the public memory. Tripti Lahiri, Quartzy, "Why China’s “artful dissident” Badiucao decided to reveal his face," 9 June 2019 George, 5, also joined in the fun, pressing his face against the window next to his siblings before heading out onto the balcony to watch the flypast. Stephanie Petit, PEOPLE.com, "George and Charlotte Show Prince Louis the Best Part of Trooping — Watching from Palace Window!," 8 June 2019 Future Forward and its leadership face at least 16 charges of wrongdoing. The Economist, "The leader of the Thai junta tortures the rules to remain in power," 8 June 2019 For the occasion, George wore a white peter pan collared shirt with light blue trim (a very George lewk, no?) and his usual magnificently grumpyish face. Sally Holmes, Marie Claire, "Prince George Is Adorable at Trooping the Colour 2019," 8 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Because Hong Kong and Taiwan don't have an extradition agreement, he has not been sent to Taiwan to face charges there, though he has been jailed in Hong Kong on money laundering charges. Fox News, "Hundreds protest outside Hong Kong government headquarters before debate on extradition law," 12 June 2019 Amid a presidential campaign, Cory Booker continues to face questioning over the possibility of entering the White House in 2020 without a first lady. Hannah Yasharoff, USA TODAY, "Cory Booker hints at a future proposal to girlfriend, actress Rosario Dawson," 12 June 2019 In the final group match before the knockout round, the Americans will travel to Le Havre to face nemesis Sweden, who they’ve been grouped with six times in World Cup play. Anne M. Peterson, The Denver Post, "Colorado’s Mallory Pugh, Lindsay Horan score in U.S. women’s national team’s rout of Thailand in FIFA Women’s World Cup," 11 June 2019 Because Hong Kong and Taiwan don’t have an extradition agreement, he has not been sent to Taiwan to face charges there, though he has been jailed in Hong Kong on money laundering charges. Washington Post, "Q&A: Why bill proposed in Hong Kong set off huge protests," 11 June 2019 He will be transferred to face the child pornography charges in Anchorage, said Chloe Martin, a spokeswoman for the office of the U.S. attorney here. Michelle Theriault Boots, Anchorage Daily News, "Federal child pornography case links Indiana man to slaying of 19-year-old in Alaska," 11 June 2019 CWS Bracket What happens next The winner of this game will go on to face the winner of the Game 4 matchup: Mississippi State vs. Auburn, on June 18 at 7 p.m. The Louisville-Vanderbilt loser will take on the loser of Game 4 on June 18 at 2 pm. Robert Rimpson, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville vs. Vanderbilt: How to watch the 2019 NCAA College World Series game," 11 June 2019 Anyone who doesn't follow the Colorado law faces a fine of up to $5,000 and a jail term of up to 18 months. Stephanie Innes, AZCentral.com, "Despite 2-year-old state law, Arizona's body donation industry still unregulated," 10 June 2019 As Durant watched on a TV in the team locker room, Golden State dug a 3-1 series hole against the Raptors to face the possible end of its dynasty. Connor Letourneau, SFChronicle.com, "Warriors’ title chances could hinge on Kevin Durant’s return," 9 June 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about face

Dictionary Entries near face

fac

FAC

facade

face

faceable

face-about

face and fill

Statistics for face

Last Updated

14 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for face

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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 How to pronounce face (audio) \

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 How to pronounce face (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on face

What made you want to look up face? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

showing courage and determination

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!