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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for face

Synonyms: Noun

countenance, kisser [slang], mug, pan [slang], puss [slang], visage

Synonyms: Verb

front, look (toward), point (toward)

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Saints next face the Seahawks on Sunday at 4:25 p.m. ET. Charlotte Carroll, SI.com, "Report: Saints' Drew Brees to Undergo Surgery on Throwing Hand Wednesday," 17 Sep. 2019 Other research has found that the ability to perceive faces keeps improving until around age 20. Quanta Magazine, "Computers and Humans ‘See’ Differently. Does It Matter?," 17 Sep. 2019 When Lady Gaga's face isn't veiled with glitter or bright shadows, black flicks typically spike outward from the corners of her eyes. Devon Abelman, Allure, "Lady Gaga Shares Exclusive Details on Her Next Haus Laboratories Launch: Winged Liner Stickers," 17 Sep. 2019 Extremist videos are just one item in a long list of troubles Facebook faces. CBS News, "Facebook to train AI systems using police firearms training videos," 17 Sep. 2019 The conference is returning to Rhode Island for the first time since 2008, and several familiar faces are expected to speak to the group. BostonGlobe.com, "will get the chance show off Rhode Island a little bit this week.," 17 Sep. 2019 The Chiefs will play a decent amount of man coverage under new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who will ask his corners to play up in opposing receivers’ faces. Steven Ruiz, For The Win, "5 NFL contenders that should trade for Jalen Ramsey," 16 Sep. 2019 Tomlin’s area of expertise – the Steelers find themselves in a year of transition with new faces emerging. Mike Jones, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Steelers' Mike Tomlin faces ultimate test after Ben Roethlisberger's injury," 16 Sep. 2019 Draper is a new face in the Tigers program, but also an old one. Rich Mayor, chicagotribune.com, "Football notebook: Corties Draper brings championship mindset to Elmwood Park," 16 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The project has faced 16 years of trouble, including a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation of Mills Corp. The company reportedly paid $165 million plus interest to settle the case, and sold the project. Johnny Joo, Smithsonian, "The Rise of the Zombie Mall," 18 Sep. 2019 The choice Destiny faces by the end of the film is whether to hold onto these items and sink—or to abandon the objects that once symbolized her independence and seek out a different kind of freedom. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "How Hustlers Captured the Excesses of Pre-Recession Fashion," 17 Sep. 2019 Fred Gardner, an office spokesman at the time, said that Mr. Hallinan became concerned as Ms. Harris assumed a public-facing role in the ballot debate, growing suspicious that Ms. Harris might run against him. Matt Flegenheimer, New York Times, "Kamala Harris Was Ready to Brawl From the Beginning," 15 Sep. 2019 There is a moment just before the sun sets when the west-facing flanks of Uluru blaze orange as if the rock has caught fire. National Geographic, "Why Australia is banning climbers from this iconic natural landmark," 15 Sep. 2019 Some economists also expect the economy to slow in the third quarter, even as president Cyril Ramaphosa faces mounting pressure to reverse the state of the ailing economy and improve competitiveness. Abdi Latif Dahir, Quartz Africa, "These charts show migrants aren’t South Africa’s biggest problem," 13 Sep. 2019 Our family faced a similar racist backlash when the U.S. engaged in the Gulf War during the early 1990s. Simran Jeet Singh, The Conversation, "Why Sikhs wear a turban and what it means to practice the faith in the United States," 13 Sep. 2019 Crescenta Valley faces an undefeated Pasadena High to start its Pacific League run. Vincent Nguyen, Glendale News-Press, "Crescenta Valley football stays perfect with win over Redondo Union," 13 Sep. 2019 While facial recognition has been historically used to match faces on clear, forward-facing images—say, comparing a mugshot to a database of prior arrests—that’s much more difficult to do in real-time. Wired, "California Bill Would Halt Facial Recognition on Body Cams," 11 Sep. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about face

Dictionary Entries near face

fac

FAC

facade

face

faceable

face-about

face and fill

Statistics for face

Last Updated

20 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for face

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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

WORD OF THE DAY

miscellaneous remnants or debris

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!