face

1 of 2

noun

often attributive
1
a
: 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
3
a
: 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
4
a(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
7
8
a
: 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

face

2 of 2

verb

faced; facing

transitive verb

1
: to confront impudently
faced him with evidence of treachery
2
a
: 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.
4
a
: 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
5
a
: to recognize and deal with straightforwardly
face the facts
b
: to master by confronting with determination
used with down
faced down his critics
6
a
: 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.
Phrases
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 the music
: to meet an unpleasant situation, a danger, or the consequences of one's actions

Example Sentences

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
There's a familiar face missing at this year's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Antonia Debianchi, Peoplemag, 24 Nov. 2022 Though the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade took place on Thursday morning in New York City, there was one notable missing familiar face from the celebration: Al Roker. Lexy Perez, The Hollywood Reporter, 24 Nov. 2022 Wu applauded Cox for his ability to both advocate for the needs of the department and establish himself as a familiar face in the community. Ivy Scott, BostonGlobe.com, 24 Nov. 2022 The Musketeers are led by a familiar face for Pac-12 fans in former Arizona coach Sean Miller, who returned to the Cincinnati university this season after previously coaching Xavier from 2004–09. Scott Sepich For The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, 22 Nov. 2022 In a twist worthy of a Hollywood screenplay, the board of the Walt Disney Co. ousted CEO Bob Chapek on Sunday and replaced him with a familiar face: Bob Iger, who ran the entertainment giant for 15 years and stepped aside two years ago. Daniel Arkin, NBC News, 21 Nov. 2022 One familiar face that's missing, of course, is Dylan O'Brien's Stiles. Samantha Highfill, EW.com, 21 Nov. 2022 Back in the conference room, there was no familiar face to hook myself to. Sarah Herrington, Los Angeles Times, 18 Nov. 2022 Amid this seesaw battle, a familiar face returned and dominated: Oscar Tshiebwe. Ryan Black, The Courier-Journal, 16 Nov. 2022
Verb
UConn in the championship game while the Tar Heels will face the loser for third place. Tim Booth, ajc, 26 Nov. 2022 The Cardinals rank 48th in FBS offense at 413.8 points per game but face a Kentucky defense that held No. 1 Georgia to just one touchdown and kept the Wildcats in the game with a goal-line stand. Creg Stephenson | Cstephenson@al.com, al, 26 Nov. 2022 Though many have jobs, they have been buffeted by months of rapid price increases and now face an uncertain future. Jeanna Smialek Tony Luong, New York Times, 25 Nov. 2022 Too $hort agreed, adding that a lot of the issues these young artists face are a result of a broken system that didn’t offer support. Candice Williams, NBC News, 25 Nov. 2022 Brennan will face three-time reigning state champion Austin Westlake (13-0) in a state quarterfinal next weekend, Westlake defeated San Benito 44-7 on Friday at Alamo Stadium. David Hinojosa, San Antonio Express-News, 25 Nov. 2022 If convicted, the companies could be fined more than $1 million and face difficulty making deals. Bart Jansen, USA TODAY, 25 Nov. 2022 Coping with higher fuel costs People who plan to drive for the holidays to visit friends or family members will face some of the highest-ever seasonal prices ever for fuel, reports GasBuddy.com. Tirzah Christopher, The Arizona Republic, 24 Nov. 2022 While homosexual residents may face discrimination in these countries, LGBTQ activity itself is not criminalized. Justin Klawans, The Week, 24 Nov. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

Noun

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

Verb

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near face

Cite this Entry

“Face.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/face. Accessed 7 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

face

1 of 2 noun
1
: the front part of the head
2
a
: an expression of the face
a friendly face
b
: grimace
make a face
3
a
: outward appearance
on the face of it
b
: dignity sense 1, prestige
lose face
4
a
: a front, upper, or outer surface
the face of a cliff
b
: any of the flat surfaces that form the boundary of a solid in geometry
every cube has six faces
c
: a surface or side that is marked or specially prepared
the face of a certificate
d
: an exposed surface of rock
5
: the end (as of a mine tunnel) at which work is going on
6
: person
a lot of new faces around here

face

2 of 2 verb
faced; facing
1
a
: to line near the edge especially with a different material
face a hem
b
: to cover the front or surface of
faced the building with marble
2
: to meet face-to-face
faced the opposing team
face one's accusers
3
a
: to stand or sit with the face toward
face the class
b
: to have the front oriented toward
a house facing the park
4
a
: to recognize and deal with
face facts
b
: to oppose by confronting with determination
face down their critics
5
: to turn toward
face the east

Medical Definition

face

noun
often attributive
1
a
: 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

Legal Definition

face

noun
1
a
: 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 mind State 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 destruction O'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
3

More from Merriam-Webster on face

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