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 behaviorhis 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.


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 downfaced 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

Synonyms: Verb

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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 Rare, which will mark Gomez's return to music after a 4-year hiatus, is a narrative of personal growth in the face of hardship. Ineye Komonibo, refinery29.com, "Selena Gomez & Taylor Swift Open Up About Their Fierce Friendship Like Never Before," 8 Jan. 2020 In the face of this competition, the partnership between Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi was already starting to crack when Ghosn was arrested in November 2018. Elijah Wolfson, Time, "Carlos Ghosn, Now a Fugitive, Was an Electric-Car Visionary," 7 Jan. 2020 Such a taxi service needs to be able to travel at freeway speeds, merge onto crowded highways, and make left-hand turns in the face of fast-moving traffic. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Waymo is way, way ahead on testing miles—that might not be a good thing," 7 Jan. 2020 In the face of climate catastrophe, a smug liberal amiability reigned. Aaron Timms, The New Republic, "Australia’s Infernal Denial," 7 Jan. 2020 In the face of global economic changes their hunting may have become unsustainable. Allen Kim, CNN, "Vikings disappeared from Greenland due to over-hunting walrus, study suggests," 7 Jan. 2020 In 19 minutes, the sum of Keeth Smart’s life plays out in an inspiring short documentary that speaks to one man’s uncompromising desire to achieve in the face of hardship. NBC News, "'Stay Close': PBS film spotlights race, adversity and a black man's rare success in the sport of fencing," 6 Jan. 2020 Jenner quoted a tweet from Senator Bernie Sanders, who called for climate change action and the implementation of a Green New Deal in the face of the raging fires. Emily Dixon, Marie Claire, "Kendall Jenner Tweeted About the Australian Bush Fire Crisis and the Internet Isn't Happy," 6 Jan. 2020 In the face of disaster and drought, California still shines brightly. Taylor Kate Brown, SFChronicle.com, "Bay Briefing: Empty shelves but open stores: What’s going on at Fry’s?," 3 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Desiree Christina Cartin Rodriguez, 27, faces two counts of lewd and lascivious assault of a child. Greg Hanlon, PEOPLE.com, "Fla. Teacher Allegedly Sexually Abused 15-Year-Old, Told Police 'She Was in Love With the Boy'," 25 Dec. 2019 Avenatti faces separate charges in the same courthouse for allegedly defrauding his most famous client, Stormy Daniels, out of a nearly $300,000 book advance. Tribune News Service, oregonlive, "Celeb attorney Mark Geragos at the ‘heart’ of Nike extortion case, Michael Avenatti says," 25 Dec. 2019 The plaza of the museum, where the ceremony took place, faces the headquarters of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Kriston Capps, The New Yorker, "Kehinde Wiley’s Anti-Confederate Memorial," 24 Dec. 2019 Nickolas Jones faces charges of kidnapping, first-degree domestic battery, first-degree terroristic threatening, second-degree interference with emergency communication and violation of a no-contact order. Nyssa Kruse, Arkansas Online, "19-year-old accused of holding Arkansas mother, teenage girl against their will," 24 Dec. 2019 James Dombeck, 67, of East Troy faces 10 counts of felony possession of child pornography and five counts of misdemeanor defamation. Meg Jones, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Technical college employee charged with running porn site, editing co-worker's face onto images," 24 Dec. 2019 But beyond the here and now, U-M faces plenty of uncertainty. Rainer Sabin, Detroit Free Press, "Should Michigan football play for present or future vs. Alabama in Citrus Bowl?," 23 Dec. 2019 The Commission on Appellate Court Appointments, which vets judicial candidates and sends short lists to the governor, faces the same risk after a series of appointments Ducey made in April. Maria Polletta, azcentral, "Sex scandals, wedding invitations, faulty prison locks. These are the 19 top Arizona stories of 2019," 22 Dec. 2019 But Winter Park faces its strongest challenge yet this week. The Know Staff, The Know, "Vote to decide Colorado’s best ski area in the final round of our championships," 21 Dec. 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


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


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

History and Etymology for face


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


Middle English facen, verbal derivative of face face entry 1

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Time Traveler for face

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for face

Last Updated

11 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Face.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/faced. Accessed 23 January 2020.

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More Definitions for face


How to pronounce face (audio)

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



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)


\ 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


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


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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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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for face

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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out of the ordinary or unreasonable

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