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 During oral arguments, his face and speech regularly betray shades of boredom, humor, contrariness, wit, and irritation, and Roberts offered his full range before noon yesterday. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "Keeping up with impeachment and SCOTUS chief John Roberts," 22 Jan. 2020 When the woman finally escaped, a neighbor took her to the hospital where she was treated for multiple bruises to her face and neck, according to prosecutors. Michelle Iracheta, Houston Chronicle, "Fort Bend County man sentenced to 10 years in domestic violence case," 20 Jan. 2020 Former Ambassador Mark Lippert was stabbed in the face and arm by an anti-American protester in 2015. Madison Dibble, Washington Examiner, "US ambassador says he’s unpopular in South Korea because of his mustache," 20 Jan. 2020 In 2015, former Ambassador Mark Lippert was slashed in the face and arm by an anti-American activist. Washington Post, "US envoy say it’s his mustache; South Koreans say otherwise," 20 Jan. 2020 The man had a dazed look on his face and his eyes were glassy, according to a police report. Bruce Geiselman, cleveland, "Drunken suspect arrested while in town for court-ordered alcohol class: North Olmsted Police Blotter," 19 Jan. 2020 According to The National Alopecia Areata Foundation, alopecia areata is a common autoimmune disease that causes hair loss on the scalp, face, and sometimes other parts of the body. Time, "Rep. Ayanna Pressley Reveals Her Hair Loss as She Shares Her ‘Very Personal’ Alopecia Diagnosis," 16 Jan. 2020 When lawmen arrived on the scene, Jerry Holaway was dead from gunshot wounds to the face and the chest. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, "Retired Alabama school teacher convicted in husband’s 2016 killing," 15 Jan. 2020 With his face and neck stained by players' eye black after so many bear hugs, Vrabel hardly resembled his former boss, Bill Belichick. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Tennessee Titans keeping New England Patriots' spirit alive and well during surprise playoff run," 15 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Some threats faced by the German luxury makers aren’t limited to the premium segment. WSJ, "Germany’s Luxury Car Makers Lose their Shine," 22 Jan. 2020 According to the researchers, those are situations faced by a disproportionately high number of foster care alumni. Washington Post, "Unusual study details woes among veterans of foster care," 22 Jan. 2020 The Beavers are coming off consecutive road losses to the Washington schools but defeated Arizona in their last home game and have beaten the Bruins the last two times the teams have faced one another at Gill Coliseum. Ben Bolchstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Mick Cronin isn’t shifting UCLA’s focus solely to the future amid struggles," 22 Jan. 2020 Ethiopia, for example, has faced rising temperatures and decreasing rainfall; the country could lose up to 59 percent of coffee farmland by century’s end. Molly Glick, Popular Science, "To get a better cup of coffee, start with fewer beans," 22 Jan. 2020 The bill that passed the committee Wednesday was amended from the original version of SB 2 filed two weeks ago, which faced criticism over a complicated provisional voting process and features making some college IDs insufficient to vote. Joe Sonka, The Courier-Journal, "Kentucky bill requiring photo ID to vote advances through Senate committee," 22 Jan. 2020 Zientek said whether the homeowners will face criminal charges will be determined by the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office, citing the animals’ health as the first priority. Rebecca Hennes, Houston Chronicle, "Houston SPCA: Spring home at center of major animal rescue one of most toxic sites ever encountered," 22 Jan. 2020 Or now, stuffing your face — make that our kids’ faces — to own the elites. al, "Whitmire: The Alabamafication of the lunchroom," 22 Jan. 2020 However, if your scissors are still working, but cutting roughly, then try this trick: Take a sheet of 150-grit aluminum-oxide sandpaper and fold it in half so that the abrasive surfaces are facing out. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How To Get Your Dull Scissors Back To Work," 21 Jan. 2020

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

25 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Face.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/faces. Accessed 26 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

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


to express in a more acceptable way

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