1 of 2


: a method of beginning play (as in hockey or lacrosse) in which two opponents face each other and attempt to gain control of a puck or ball dropped or placed between them

face off

2 of 2


faced off; facing off; faces off

intransitive verb

: to be in or come into opposition or competition
politicians facing off against each other in a televised debate

Examples of face-off in a Sentence

Verb eager to face off with her longtime tennis rival
Recent Examples on the Web
More important, the face-off in Alpharetta, Ga., will show two different models for America’s economic future. Stephen Moore, WSJ, 29 Nov. 2023 Marshall saves his third slap for a grand Turkey Day face-off and continues the holiday ritual in the following years. Shay Spence, Peoplemag, 22 Nov. 2023 Outside of Ryme, the ghost-type gym leader, there were hardly any chances to fight two Pokémon at once, which offers some of the more challenging, strategic face-offs in the game series. Jordan Moreau, Variety, 21 Nov. 2023 In a new bonus episode of their joint podcast, New Heights with Jason and Travis Kelce (Presented by Wave Sports + Entertainment), the two athletes discussed their teams' upcoming face-off on Monday. Chris Barilla, Peoplemag, 17 Nov. 2023 The face-off between Disney and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis seems to be trending toward another win for Iger as DeSantis plummets precipitously in the polls. Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, Fortune, 7 Nov. 2023 The ordeal leads to one last face-off between her and Myers. Kate Hogan, Peoplemag, 23 Oct. 2023 In the brief clip for the episode, the ultimate face-off is between Bad Bunny, the host, versus Bad Bunny, the musical guest — and neither are even considering tapping out. Larisha Paul, Rolling Stone, 18 Oct. 2023 Jason Kelce and the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles head to MetLife Stadium today for a Week 6 face-off against the New York Jets. Tim Chan, Variety, 15 Oct. 2023
The Buckeyes and Wolverines face off Saturday in Ann Arbor, Mich., with the winner advancing to the Big Ten championship game. Iliana Limón Romero, Los Angeles Times, 22 Nov. 2023 Earlier in the week, the brothers faced off on the field for the first time since the 2023 Super Bowl. Angel Saunders, Peoplemag, 22 Nov. 2023 The GOP’s presidential primary candidates have faced off in three debates hosted by the Republican National Committee so far this year. Isabela Espadas Barros Leal, NBC News, 21 Nov. 2023 On December 18, Argentina faced off against defending champion France in the final, taking home the cup in a thrilling match that ended in 4-2 penalty shoot-out victory. Demetrius Simms, Robb Report, 20 Nov. 2023 In roast battles and stage shows, comics are experimenting with facing off against A.I. chatbots. Jason Zinoman, New York Times, 15 Nov. 2023 By the end of the video, the two musicians ride motorcycles through the 8-bit world before facing off with a Brazilian Bowser. Tomás Mier, Rolling Stone, 10 Nov. 2023 Ramakrishnan said that could set up another bit of history next year, with two non-white vice presidential nominees facing off on stage together for the first time. Zohreen Shah, ABC News, 6 Nov. 2023 Wrap it Up with a Suede Protector Spray While not necessary, your future self might thank you for applying a suede protector before facing off with the next stain. Gia Yetikyel, Vogue, 3 Nov. 2023 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use


1889, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1948, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of face-off was in 1889

Dictionary Entries Near face-off

Cite this Entry

“Face-off.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/face-off. Accessed 7 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
: a method of putting a puck in play in ice hockey by dropping it between two opposing players
: a meeting of opposing forces : confrontation

face off

2 of 2 verb
: to be in or come into opposition or competition
politicians facing off each other in a debate

More from Merriam-Webster on face-off

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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