face value


Definition of face value 

1 : the value indicated on the face (as of a postage stamp or a stock certificate)

2 : the apparent value or significance if their remarks may be taken at face value

Examples of face value in a Sentence

We paid $100 for tickets that had a face value of $50.

Recent Examples on the Web

Ahead of the tour, which began in Manchester on May 25, promoters advised anyone who had bought tickets through a secondary site to seek a refund and buy a new ticket at its face value. Richard Smirke, Billboard, "'Don't Choose Viagogo' -- Boycott Urged as U.K. Watchdog Finds Ticketing Site Missed Deadline to Remove 'Misleading' Pricing," 30 May 2018 Bonds issued by David's trade for half their face value, with Moody's Investors Service and S&P Global Ratings cutting the company's credit rating deeper into junk earlier this year on concern that it's headed for a distressed-debt exchange. chicagotribune.com, "David's Bridal hires Evercore for debt advice as weddings wane," 18 May 2018 Instead, Treasury bills are sold at a discount to their face value, and investors get the full amount upon maturity. Matthew Frankel, USA TODAY, "Treasury bills, bonds and notes: How are they different? Ask a Fool," 10 May 2018 Demand for Intesa’s bonds is also buoyant, with its 1.25 billion euros of 7.75 percent junior notes rising to 24 percent above their face value since they were issued one year ago, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Bloomberg.com, "Intesa Wants to Issue More Debt in Asia to Diversify Funding," 22 Feb. 2018 Styrofoam bans sound good when taken at face value, but long-term effects must be considered before implementing them. Camille Harmer, Fortune, "How Banning Plastic Straws Could Make Pollution Even Worse," 12 July 2018 As an example, a Treasury bill may be sold for $99 with a face value of $100. Matthew Frankel, USA TODAY, "Treasury bills, bonds and notes: How are they different? Ask a Fool," 10 May 2018 But folks who were lucky enough to snag tickets with a face value of $35-$60 to the April 20 event at the Harris Theater have slapped a hefty markup on the secondary market. Kim Janssen, chicagotribune.com, "Yours for $1,000: A ticket to hear James Comey plug his book," 3 Apr. 2018 The funds purchase the debt at a deep discount, forgo regular interest payments and instead receive the debt’s full face value at maturity. Daniel Kruger, WSJ, "Tax Wrinkle Spurs Pension Funds to Buy More Treasurys," 5 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'face value.' 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 value

1851, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for face value

Last Updated

19 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for face value

The first known use of face value was in 1851

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More Definitions for face value

face value


Financial Definition of face value

What It Is

Face value, also referred to as par value or nominal value, is the value shown on the face of a security certificate, including currency. The concept most commonly applies to stocks and bonds, so it is particularly important to bond and preferred stock investors.

How It Works

Face value is an often arbitrarily assigned amount used to calculate the accounting value of a company's stock for balance sheet purposes.

When it comes to bonds and preferred stock, however, face value represents the amount that must be repaid at maturity. Corporate bonds usually carry a $1,000 face value, municipal bonds usually carry a $5,000 face value, and government bonds usually carry a $10,000 face value, though these amounts can vary widely.

Let's assume Company XYZ decides to issue $1,000,000 in bonds to raise capital to help fund the construction of a new factory. If each bond had a face value of $1,000, the company would have to issue 1,000 bonds to meet its $1,000,000 goal.

This bond issue would also pay interest in an amount per bond that is impacted by the amount of the face value. For example, if the bonds paid 5%, it means they will pay interest amounting to 5% of the bond's face value each year. That would mean interest payments totaling $50 annually for a bond with a $1,000 face value.

Why It Matters

Face value is a crucial component of many bond and preferred stock calculations -- including interest payments, market values, discounts, premiums, and yields.

As shown in the example above, the interest on a bond is usually calculated as a percentage of face value. Additionally, bondholders often receive a percentage over the bond's face value as a redemption premium if the borrower decides to repay the debt before it is due (known as a callable bond, this is often done on a sliding scale based on when the bonds are redeemed).

It is important to note that when it comes to stocks, face value (or par value) generally has no relation to market price. Bond prices, however, are heavily influenced by their face value. Bonds are usually quoted as a percentage of face value. However, their prices can climb above (premium) or fall below (discount) their face value based on changes in interest rates and the financial health of the underlying issuer.

Source: Investing Answers

face value


English Language Learners Definition of face value

: the value that is printed or shown on something (such as a coin or bill)

face value


Legal Definition of face value 

: the value indicated on the face of something (as a stock certificate)

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