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[fruhnt] /frʌnt/
the foremost part or surface of anything.
the part or side of anything that faces forward:
the front of a jacket.
the part or side of anything, as a building, that seems to look out or to be directed forward:
He sat in the front of the restaurant.
any side or face, as of a building.
a façade, considered with respect to its architectural treatment or material:
a cast-iron front.
a property line along a street or the like:
a fifty-foot front.
a place or position directly before anything:
We decided to plant trees in the front.
a position of leadership in a particular endeavor or field:
She rose to the front of her profession.
  1. the foremost line or part of an army.
  2. a line of battle.
  3. the place where combat operations are carried on.
an area of activity, conflict, or competition:
news from the business front.
land facing a road, river, etc.
British. a promenade along a seashore.
Informal. a distinguished person listed as an official of an organization, for the sake of prestige, and who is usually inactive.
a person or thing that serves as a cover or disguise for some other activity, especially one of a secret, disreputable, or illegal nature; a blind:
The store was a front for foreign agents.
outward impression of rank, position, or wealth.
bearing or demeanor in confronting anything:
a calm front.
haughtiness; self-importance:
That clerk has the most outrageous front.
the forehead, or the entire face:
the statue's gracefully chiseled front.
a coalition or movement to achieve a particular end, usually political:
the people's front.
something attached or worn at the breast, as a shirt front or a dickey:
to spill gravy down one's front.
Meteorology. an interface or zone of transition between two dissimilar air masses.
  1. the auditorium.
  2. the business offices of a theater.
  3. the front of the stage; downstage.
of or relating to the front.
situated in or at the front:
front seats.
Phonetics. (of a speech sound) articulated with the tongue blade relatively far forward in the mouth, as the sounds of lay.
verb (used with object)
to have the front toward; face:
Our house fronts the lake.
to meet face to face; confront.
to face in opposition, hostility, or defiance.
to furnish or supply a front to:
to front a building with sandstone.
to serve as a front to:
A long, sloping lawn fronted their house.
Informal. to provide an introduction to; introduce:
a recorded message that is fronted with a singing commercial.
to lead (a jazz or dance band).
Phonetics. to articulate (a speech sound) at a position farther front in the mouth.
Linguistics. to move (a constituent) to the beginning of a clause or sentence.
verb (used without object)
to have or turn the front in some specified direction:
Our house fronts on the lake.
to serve as a cover or disguise for another activity, especially something of a disreputable or illegal nature:
The shop fronts for a narcotics ring.
(used to call or command someone to come, look, etc., to the front, as in an order to troops on parade or in calling a hotel bellboy to the front desk):
Front and center, on the double!
in front, in a forward place or position:
Sit down, you in front!
in front of,
  1. ahead of:
    to walk in front of a moving crowd.
  2. outside the entrance of:
    to wait in front of a house.
  3. in the presence of:
    to behave badly in front of company.
out front,
  1. outside the entrance:
    He's waiting out front.
  2. ahead of competitors:
    This advertising campaign ought to put our business way out front.
  3. Theater. in the audience or auditorium.
  4. Informal. candidly; frankly:
    Say what you mean out front.
up front, Informal.
  1. in advance; before anything else:
    You'll have to make a payment of $5,000 up front.
  2. frank; open; direct:
    I want you to be up front with me.
Origin of front
1250-1300; Middle English frount, front < Anglo-French, Old French < Latin front- (stem of frōns) forehead, brow, front
Related forms
unfronted, adjective

front. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for front
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Will madame be so good to enter our petit salon at the front, n'est-ce-pas?

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • I fetched up at an exit on the side street, and there they were directly in front of me.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • Then they heard fresh howls and yells in front as well as behind.

    The Armourer's Prentices Charlotte M. Yonge
  • When it is cold, the dog finds a spot in front of the stove.

    Ancient Man Hendrik Willem van Loon
  • Wagons halted in front of the locality, and were soon piled with spectators.

British Dictionary definitions for front


that part or side that is forward, prominent, or most often seen or used
a position or place directly before or ahead: a fountain stood at the front of the building
the beginning, opening, or first part: the front of the book
the position of leadership; forefront; vanguard: in the front of scientific knowledge
land bordering a lake, street, etc
land along a seashore or large lake, esp a promenade
  1. the total area in which opposing armies face each other
  2. the lateral space in which a military unit or formation is operating: to advance on a broad front
  3. the direction in which troops are facing when in a formed line
(meteorol) the dividing line or plane between two air masses or water masses of different origins and having different characteristics See also warm front, cold front
outward aspect or bearing, as when dealing with a situation: a bold front
assurance, overconfidence, or effrontery
(informal) a business or other activity serving as a respectable cover for another, usually criminal, organization
(mainly US) a nominal leader of an organization, etc, who lacks real power or authority; figurehead
(informal) outward appearance of rank or wealth
a particular field of activity involving some kind of struggle: on the wages front
a group of people with a common goal: a national liberation front
a false shirt front; a dicky
(archaic) the forehead or the face
adjective (prenominal)
of, at, or in the front: a front seat
(phonetics) of, relating to, or denoting a vowel articulated with the blade of the tongue brought forward and raised towards the hard palate, as for the sound of ee in English see or a in English hat
on the front foot, at an advantage, outclassing and outmanoeuvring one's opponents
when intr, foll by on or onto. to be opposite (to); face (onto): this house fronts the river
(transitive) to be a front of or for
(transitive) (informal) to appear as a presenter in (a television show)
(transitive) to be the lead singer or player in (a band)
(transitive) to confront, esp in hostility or opposition
(transitive) to supply a front for
(Austral & NZ, informal) (intransitive) often foll by up. to appear (at): to front up at the police station
Derived Forms
frontless, adjective
Word Origin
C13 (in the sense: forehead, face): from Latin frōns forehead, foremost part


Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for front

late 13c., "forehead," from Old French front "forehead, brow" (12c.), from Latin frontem (nominative frons) "forehead, brow, front; facade, forepart; appearance," perhaps literally "that which projects," from PIE *bhront-, from root *bhren- "to project, stand out." Or from PIE *ser-, "base of prepositions and preverbs with the basic meaning 'above, over, up, upper'" [Watkins].

Sense of "foremost part of anything" developed in Latin. The military sense of "foremost part of an army" (mid-14c.) led to the meaning "field of operations in contact with the enemy" (1660s). Home front is from 1919. Sense of "public facade" is from 1891; that of "something serving as a cover for illegal activities" is from 1905. Meteorological sense first recorded 1921. Front yard first attested 1767.


1520s, from Middle French fronter, from Old French front (see front (n.)). Related: Fronted; fronting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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front in Science

The boundary between two air masses that have different temperatures or humidity. In the mid-latitude areas of the Earth, where warm tropical air meets cooler polar air, the systems of fronts define the weather and often cause precipitation to form. Warm air, being lighter than cold air, tends to rise, cool, and condense along such boundaries, forming rain or snow. See also cold front, occluded front, polar front, stationary front, warm front.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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front in Culture
front (frontal zone)

In meteorology, the line that forms the boundary between two air masses. Unless they are very similar in temperature and humidity, they will not mix.

Note: Fronts usually produce unstable weather.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for front



  1. The appearance and impression one presents publicly; facade: This and his stickpin, his two diamond rings, and his shirts and the gabardine suit composed his ''front''/ He's a real coon type. But that's just front (1896+)
  2. (also front man) A respectable and impressive person who represents or publicly supports persons lacking social approval: Inability to hire a professional bondsman and ''good front'' results in a quick trial/ Ian Anderson, the band's flute-playing front man (1920s+)
  3. An ordinary and unexceptionable business used as a cover for gambling, extortion, etc, esp as a way of decontaminating ill-gotten money: The candy store was a front for his bookie business (1920s+)


  1. : If you ask them to front for you, they know you're going to do something
  2. (also front man) To be the leading figure of: Terry Frank, who fronted the blues outfit Bone Deluxe since 1980 (1990s+)
  3. To give something, esp narcotics, on promise of payment: I'll front you some of this shit if you pay me by Thursday (1960s+ Narcotics)
  4. To behave in a hostile manner; confront (1990s+)
  5. To lie; renege on an agreement; cop out (1990s+ Teenagers)

Related Terms

out-front, up front

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with front
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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