fron·​tal | \ˈfrən-tᵊl \

Definition of frontal 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 [ Middle English frontel, from Medieval Latin frontellum, diminutive of Latin front-, frons ] : a cloth hanging over the front of an altar



Definition of frontal (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or adjacent to the forehead or the frontal bone

2a : of, relating to, or situated at the front

b : directed against the front or at the main point or issue : direct frontal assault

3 : parallel to the main axis of the body and at right angles to the sagittal plane

4 : of or relating to a meteorological front

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Other Words from frontal


frontally \ˈfrən-​tᵊl-​ē \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for frontal

Synonyms: Adjective

anterior, fore, forward, front, frontward (or frontwards)

Antonyms: Adjective

aft, after, hind, hinder, hindmost, posterior, rear, rearward

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Examples of frontal in a Sentence


most cars have the engine in the frontal part

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Frontotemporal dementia: This group of diseases is marked by the breakdown of nerve cells in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain, which are usually linked with personality, behavior, and language. Korin Miller, SELF, "What’s the Difference Between Normal Age-Related Memory Decline and Signs of Dementia?," 26 Oct. 2018 The full-frontal comes to us courtesy of Batman: Damned #1, the first in a new limited series about the coc — *chokes* CAPED crusader. Megan Farokhmanesh, The Verge, "Thanks, I hate it," 21 Sep. 2018 Kim posts a full-frontal pic wearing nothing but controversial cornrows, a luxe fur coat, and a teeny tiny thong. Alison Caporimo, Seventeen, "Here's Every Single Time Kim Kardashian Has Posted Naked Pics on Instagram," 19 July 2018 Sempervirens Falls, short, narrow chute into pool, Big Basin Redwoods State Park; Castle Rock Falls, 50-foot free fall with viewing platform for side view (not a full frontal), Castle Rock State Park, Skyline (above Los Gatos). Tom Stienstra, San Francisco Chronicle, "As winter arrives, rain ignites waterfalls across Northern California," 18 Jan. 2018 Don’t blame James Ivory for Call Me By Your Name‘s lack of full-frontal male nudity. Dave Quinn,, "Call Me By Your Name's Oscar-Winning Screenwriter Blasts His Own Film for Lack of Male Nudity," 28 Mar. 2018 The team next gave participants a working-memory task and found traveling waves in their frontal and temporal lobes became more organized half a second after people were prompted to recall information. Simon Makin, Scientific American, "“Traveling” Brain Waves May Be Critical for Cognition," 28 June 2018 Cortical folding appears to decrease with age across large swaths of the frontal, parietal and occipital lobes in both young people with autism and controls. Rachel Zamzow, Scientific American, "Brains of Children with Autism Show Unusual Folding Patterns," 9 July 2018 Viewed from the side, Washington’s Roman nose seems larger than in the frontal poses in the familiar paintings. Barrymore Laurence Scherer, WSJ, "‘Canova’s George Washington’ Review: The Very Model of a Lost Masterpiece," 9 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

In 1943, the zoot suit became the focal point of a frontal attack on the Mexican-American community of Los Angeles. Mariana Gonzalez, Teen Vogue, "How the Zoot Suit Became a Symbol of Resistance for Mexican-American People," 21 Sep. 2018 There are three different planes of motion through which the body moves—the frontal plane, lateral plane and transverse plane, explains Alicea. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "Here's How to Do Octavia Spencer's Low-Impact Cardio Workout," 4 Oct. 2018 Meanwhile, strong to severe thunderstorms along with locally heavy rain will develop along a frontal boundary that extends from Texas up into the Great Lakes and out into the MidAtlantic. Janice Dean, Fox News, "Tropical disturbance brings heavy rain to Florida," 14 May 2018 In Tennyson’s hands the light brigade’s disastrous frontal assault on Russian troops in the Crimean War produced some stirring verse. William Mcgurn, WSJ, "Dick Durbin’s Supreme Sacrifice," 9 July 2018 But earlier, the president with a frontal attack on Merkel, hammering Germany for its pipeline deal with Putin, to pump natural gas from Russia directly to Germany. Fox News, "US ambassador to UK reacts to Trump's NATO comments," 12 July 2018 The artist and the show’s organizers couldn’t have known that just as the show opened, U.S. immigration officers would begin a frontal attack on this maternal bond, wresting children from their parents and confining them in detention centers. Thomas Hine,, "Philly artists' big, urgent show at Woodmere looks out from the rowhouse to the world," 21 June 2018 An isolated, weak tornado cannot be ruled out, given the tendency of these frontal boundaries to generate a bit of spin at low levels and feeding that spin into a thunderstorm cell. Jeff Halverson, Washington Post, "Heavy showers and storms may target Washington region around sunset," 20 June 2018 Our next chance of rain will be Thursday and Friday into Saturday as a frontal boundary becomes stationary over our area, boosting humidity and triggering periods of showers and thunderstorms. Tom Skilling,, "Winds will shift, ushering in colder air Tuesday," 4 June 2018

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1656, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for frontal


New Latin frontalis, from Latin front-, frons

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Statistics for frontal

Last Updated

15 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for frontal

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

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More Definitions for frontal



English Language Learners Definition of frontal

: relating to the front of something : directed at the front

: relating to or showing the front of the human body


fron·​tal | \ˈfrən-tᵊl \

Kids Definition of frontal

: of or directed at a front a frontal attack


fron·​tal | \ˈfrənt-ᵊl \

Medical Definition of frontal 

1 : of, relating to, or adjacent to the forehead or the frontal bone

2 : of, relating to, or situated at the front or anteriorly

3 : parallel to the main axis of the body and at right angles to the sagittal plane a frontal plane

Other Words from frontal

frontally \-​ᵊl-​ē \ adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on frontal

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with frontal

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for frontal

Spanish Central: Translation of frontal

Nglish: Translation of frontal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of frontal for Arabic Speakers

Comments on frontal

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


to move with a clumsy heavy tread

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