Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[feys] /feɪs/
the front part of the head, from the forehead to the chin.
a look or expression on this part:
a sad face.
an expression or look that indicates ridicule, disgust, etc.; grimace:
The child put on a face when told to go to bed.
cosmetics; makeup:
Excuse me while I go to the powder room to put on my face.
impudence; boldness:
to have the face to ask such a rude question.
outward appearance:
These are just old problems with new faces. The future presented a fair face to the fortunate youth.
outward show or pretense, especially as a means of preserving one's dignity or of concealing a detrimental fact, condition, etc.:
Though shamed beyond words, he managed to show a bold face.
good reputation; dignity; prestige:
They hushed up the family scandal to preserve face.
the amount specified in a bill or note, exclusive of interest.
the manifest sense or express terms, as of a document.
the geographic characteristics or general appearance of a land surface.
the surface:
the face of the earth.
the side, or part of a side, upon which the use of a thing depends:
the clock's face; the face of a playing card.
the most important or most frequently seen side; front:
the face of a building.
the outer or upper side of a fabric; right side.
the acting, striking, or working surface of an implement, tool, etc.
Geometry. any of the bounding surfaces of a solid figure:
a cube has six faces.
Also called working face. Mining. the front or end of a drift or excavation, where the material is being or was last mined.
  1. the working surface of a type, of a plate, etc.
  2. Also called typeface, typestyle. any design of type, including a full range of characters, as letters, numbers, and marks of punctuation, in all sizes:
    Caslon is one of the most popular faces.
  3. Also called typeface, typestyle. the general style or appearance of type:
    broad or narrow face.
Nautical, Aeronautics. the rear or after side of a propeller blade (opposed to back1 (def 11.)).
Fortification. either of the two outer sides that form the salient angle of a bastion or the like.
Crystallography. any of the plane surfaces of a crystal.
Electronics. faceplate (def 3).
Archaic. sight; presence:
to flee from the face of the enemy.
verb (used with object), faced, facing.
to look toward or in the direction of:
to face the light.
to have the front toward or permit a view of:
The building faces Fifth Avenue. The bedroom faces the park.
to confront directly:
to be faced with a problem; to face the future confidently.
to confront courageously, boldly, or impudently (usually followed by down or out):
He could always face down his detractors.
to oppose or to meet defiantly:
to face fearful odds; Army faces Navy in today's football game.
to cover or partly cover with a different material in front:
They faced the old wooden house with brick.
to finish the edge of a garment with facing, a piece of fabric added for ornament or strengthening.
to turn the face of (a playing card) upwards.
to dress or smooth the surface of (a stone or the like).
to cause (soldiers) to turn to the right, left, or in the opposite direction.
Ice Hockey. (of a referee) to put (the puck) in play by dropping it between two opposing players each having his or her stick on the ice and facing the goal of the opponent.
verb (used without object), faced, facing.
to turn or be turned (often followed by to or toward):
She faced toward the sea.
to be placed with the front in a certain direction (often followed by on, to, or toward):
The house faces on the street. The barn faces south.
to turn to the right, left, or in the opposite direction:
Left face!
Ice Hockey. to face the puck; put the puck in play (often followed by off).
Verb phrases
face down, to confront boldly or intimidate (an opponent, critic, etc.).
face off,
  1. to confront, fight, or compete against each other as opponents:
    The presidential nominees will face off at the debates tomorrow night.
  2. Ice Hockey. to start a game or period with a face-off.
face up to,
  1. to acknowledge; admit:
    to face up to the facts.
  2. to meet courageously; confront:
    He refused to face up to his problems.
face the music. music (def 9).
face to face,
  1. facing or opposite one another:
    We sat face to face at the table.
  2. in an open, personal meeting or confrontation:
    The leaders spoke face to face about a reduction in nuclear arms.
face to face with, in close proximity to; narrowly escaping; confronting:
face to face with death.
fly in the face of. fly1 (def 35).
get out of someone's face,
  1. Southern U.S. go away!; leave.
  2. Slang. to stop bothering or annoying someone.
in someone’s face,
  1. in a confrontational way that shows annoyance or contempt:
    When I asked for money, he just laughed in my face.
  2. Slang. confrontational toward someone, as by criticizing or annoying persistently:
    My dad got in my face about my bad grades.
in your face, Slang.
  1. (usually used imperatively to tease someone or flaunt something in a confrontational way):
    We won the game. In your face!
  2. involving confrontation; defiant; provocative:
    His political commentary is always in your face.
    See also in-your-face.
in the face of,
  1. in spite of; notwithstanding:
    She persevered in the face of many obstacles.
  2. when confronted with:
    They were steadfast in the face of disaster.
lose face, to suffer disgrace, humiliation, or embarrassment:
It was impossible to apologize publicly without losing face.
make a face, to grimace, as in distaste or contempt; contort one's face in order to convey a feeling or to amuse another:
She made a face when she was told the work wasn't finished. The children made me laugh by making faces.
on the face of it, to outward appearances; superficially; seemingly:
On the face of it, there was no hope for a comeback.
put on a bold face, to give the appearance of confidence or assurance:
Everyone knew that he had been fired, even though he put on a bold face.
Also, put a bold face on.
save face, to avoid disgrace, humiliation, or embarrassment:
She tried to save face by saying that the bill had never arrived.
set one's face against, to disapprove strongly of; oppose:
My parents have set their face against my becoming an actress.
show one's face, to make an appearance; be seen:
I would be ashamed to show my face in such an outlandish outfit. Just show your face at the party and then you can leave.
to one's face, in one's presence; brazenly; directly:
Tell him to his face that he's a liar!
Origin of face
late Middle English
1250-1300; (noun) Middle English < Anglo-French, Old French < Vulgar Latin *facia, for Latin faciēs facies; (v.) late Middle English facen, derivative of the noun
Related forms
faceable, adjective
subface, noun
underface, noun
underface, verb (used with object), underfaced, underfacing.
unfaceable, adjective
1. Face, countenance, visage refer to the front of the (usually human) head. The face is the combination of the features: a face with broad cheekbones. Countenance, a more formal word, denotes the face as it is affected by or reveals the state of mind, and hence often signifies the look or expression on the face: a thoughtful countenance. Visage, still more formal, refers to the face as seen in a certain aspect, especially as revealing seriousness or severity: a stern visage. 2. appearance, aspect, mien. 7. exterior. 14. façade. 30. veneer. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for lose face
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Just as the Chinese will do anything to "save face" so the Briton will do anything not to "lose face."

    The Pacific Triangle Sydney Greenbie
  • Which meant that Broderick must sustain the Lecompton Resolution or lose face and favor in the nation's forum.

    Port O' Gold

    Louis John Stellman
British Dictionary definitions for lose face


Fellow of the Australian College of Education


  1. the front of the head from the forehead to the lower jaw; visage
  2. (as modifier): face flannel, face cream
  1. the expression of the countenance; look: a sad face
  2. a distorted expression, esp to indicate disgust; grimace: she made a face
(informal) make-up (esp in the phrase put one's face on)
outward appearance: the face of the countryside is changing
appearance or pretence (esp in the phrases put a bold, good, bad, etc, face on)
worth in the eyes of others; dignity (esp in the phrases lose or save face)
(informal) impudence or effrontery
the main side of an object, building, etc, or the front: the face of a palace, a cliff face
the marked surface of an instrument, esp the dial of a timepiece
the functional or working side of an object, as of a tool or playing card
  1. the exposed area of a mine from which coal, ore, etc, may be mined
  2. (as modifier): face worker
the uppermost part or surface: the face of the earth
Also called side. any one of the plane surfaces of a crystal or other solid figure
(mountaineering) a steep side of a mountain, bounded by ridges
either of the surfaces of a coin, esp the one that bears the head of a ruler
(Brit, slang) a well-known or important person
(printing) Also called typeface
  1. the printing surface of any type character
  2. the style, the design, or sometimes the size of any type fount
  3. the print made from type
(nautical, aeronautics) the aft or near side of a propeller blade
fly in the face of, to act in defiance of
in one's face, directly opposite or against one
in face of, in the face of, despite
look someone in the face, to look directly at a person without fear or shame
on the face of it, to all appearances
set one's face against, to oppose with determination
show one's face, to make an appearance
(slang) (often imperative) shut one's face, to be silent
to someone's face, in someone's presence; directly and openly: I told him the truth to his face
(informal) until one is blue in the face, to the utmost degree; indefinitely
when intr, often foll by to, towards, or on. to look or be situated or placed (in a specified direction): the house faces on the square
to be opposite: facing page 9
(transitive) to meet or be confronted by: in his work he faces many problems
(transitive) to accept or deal with something: let's face it, you're finished
(transitive) to provide with a surface of a different material: the cuffs were faced with velvet
to dress the surface of (stone or other material)
(transitive) to expose (a card) with the face uppermost
(military, mainly US) to order (a formation) to turn in a certain direction or (of a formation) to turn as required: right face!
  1. (of the referee) to drop (the puck) between two opposing players, as when starting or restarting play See also face-off
  2. to start or restart play in this manner
(informal) face the music, to confront the consequences of one's actions
Derived Forms
faceable, adjective
Word Origin
C13: from Old French, from Vulgar Latin facia (unattested), from Latin faciēs form, related to facere to make
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
Cite This Source
Contemporary definitions for lose face

to become disgraced, humiliated, or embarrassed, cf. {save face}

Usage Note

idiom's 21st Century Lexicon
Copyright © 2003-2014, LLC
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for lose face



late 13c., "front of the head," from Old French face (12c.) "face, countenance, look, appearance," from Vulgar Latin *facia (cf. Italian faccia), from Latin facies "appearance, form, figure," and secondarily "visage, countenance;" probably related to facere "to make" (see factitious).

Replaced Old English andwlita (from root of wlitan "to see, look") and ansyn, the usual word (from the root of seon "see"). In French, the use of face for "front of the head" was given up 17c. and replaced by visage (older vis), from Latin visus "sight." To lose face (or save face), 1876, is said to be from Chinese tu lien. Face value was originally (1878) of bank notes, postage stamps, etc.



"confront with assurance, show a bold face," mid-15c., from face (n.) Related: Faced. To face the music is theatrical.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
lose face in Medicine

face (fās)

  1. The front portion of the head, from forehead to chin.

  2. Facies.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
lose face in Science
  1. A plane surface of a geometric solid. A cube has 6 faces; a dodecahedron, 12.

  2. Any of the surfaces of a rock or crystal.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for lose face



  1. A celebrity, esp a show-business notable (1960s+ Show business)
  2. A person: bad face, a surly, mean, no-good cat (1950s+ Cool talk)
  3. A white person; fay1: Don't see why we need some high-priced face down here telling us how to live (1940s+ Black)


To insult; embarrass; humiliate; burn •This sense probably originated in basketball, where aggressive players put their hands in front of other players' faces: face, which means to embarrass (1980s+ Students)

Related Terms

bag your face, dollface, feed one's face, get out of someone's face, go upside one's face, have a red face, have egg on one's face, not just another pretty face, laugh on the other side of one's face, let's face it, paleface, pieface, poker face, red face, she can sit on my face anytime, shit-faced, shoot off one's mouth, a slap in the face, straight face, suck face, till one is blue in the face, what's-his-name, white-face

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with lose face

lose face

Be embarrassed or humiliated, especially publicly. For example, Terry lost face when his assistant was promoted and became his boss . Both this expression and the underlying concept come from Asia; the term itself is a translation of the Chinese tiu lien and has been used in English since the late 1800s. Also see save face
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for lose face

Difficulty index for face

All English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for lose

Scrabble Words With Friends