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

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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

But careful on those stairs—the couple is selling the home after Underwood’s serious fall on some outside stairs resulted in a broken wrist and 40 stitches in her face. Cator Sparks, House Beautiful, "Carrie Underwood Is Selling Her Tennessee Home," 11 Mar. 2019 Face-to-face with the dizzyingly grand Paradiso, a roughly 23 x 72-foot canvas commissioned for the Sala del Maggior Consiglio in Venice, Ruskin praised the dynamism of Tintoretto’s composition. Marley Marius, Vogue, "From Sally Mann to Jacopo Tintoretto, 7 Art Exhibitions You Won't Want to Miss This Spring," 1 Mar. 2019 However, more skeptical commenters suggested that the face could simply belong to an extra who happened to stare into the camera. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Is That a Face Behind Sansa Stark in the New Game of Thrones Photos?," 26 Apr. 2019 As troubling as postpartum complications like mine are, the risks associated with premature delivery mean expecting mothers dealing with severe gallstone pain face a doubly hard situation. Kate Wehr, Good Housekeeping, "Gallstones Are the Pregnancy Complication No One Warned Me About," 18 Apr. 2019 The trailer doesn't give much away, only that our heroes are back and some new and familiar faces are returning. Adam Schubak, Popular Mechanics, "Everything We Know So Far About 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker'," 12 Apr. 2019 And despite having no face, there’s something very expressive about this lamp, just like with Pixar’s iconic Luxo Jr. Ann Lien, House Beautiful, "You Can Pose This Awesome Robot Lamp in All Kinds of Ways," 8 Apr. 2019 Sure, the faces barely move still, and the lip-sync is messy, but the characters look slightly less dead-behind-the-eyes. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "This week in games: Borderlands 3 teased for PAX East, Dwarf Fortress is coming to Steam," 15 Mar. 2019 Even so, business owners are moving forward: One Pocatello wedding and event store owner became the public face of CBD sales when police investigated her last Fall for selling CBD oil with .0175% THC. Meredith Clark, Marie Claire, "Is CBD Even Legal Where You Live?," 12 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Discourse on feminism is fundamentally different in China than in Australia and Europe; both share the goal of gender equality, but, in recent years, the Chinese Women’s Rights Movement has faced rigid government repression. Vogue, "This All-Female DJ Collective Wants to Empower the Women of Shanghai’s Nocturnal World," 15 May 2019 Ratings for the show have declined in recent years, and the retailer’s parent, L Brands Inc., has faced growing... Khadeeja Safdar, WSJ, "Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show Leaving Network TV," 10 May 2019 Trump and his administration have faced a contentious battle over aid funding some say isn’t enough. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "AOC Called Out Kellyanne Conway Over the Trump Administration's "Incompetent" Response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico," 29 Apr. 2019 In the weeks leading up to his campaign announcement, Joe faced a series of claims of reportedly inappropriately touching—and in one instance, kissing—various women, including Lucy Flores, a former legislator from Nevada. Maggie Maloney, Town & Country, "Why Jill Biden Might Just Be Joe Biden's Greatest Political Asset," 25 Apr. 2019 Navigating her new relationship with running When the media frenzy finally slowed about a month after the race, Sellers faced another pressure: proving her worth as an athlete. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "How Sarah Sellers Went From Surprise Podium Finisher at the Boston Marathon to Pro Athlete," 8 Apr. 2019 Free and reduced meal programs at school go a long way in keeping kids healthy and fed, but when the bell rings on Friday afternoon, some children may face a weekend with insufficient food. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "A School Is Turning Its Leftover Cafeteria Food Into Frozen Take-Home Meals for Kids," 5 Apr. 2019 Meghan Markle has faced a lot of abuse on social media since joining the royal family. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "A Hashtag in Meghan Markle's Honor Has Helped Raise Charitable Donations All Over the World," 30 Mar. 2019 Familiar faces return, including Ellie and Brick (who now plays saxophone). Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "Borderlands 3 reveal brings back familiar faces and "over one billion guns," including a gun that walks," 28 Mar. 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.

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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

17 May 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 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

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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

Comments on face

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