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[volt-fahs, vohlt-; French vawltuh-fas] /vɒltˈfɑs, voʊlt-; French vɔltəˈfas/
noun, plural volte-face.
a turnabout, especially a reversal of opinion or policy.
Origin of volte-face
1810-20; < French < Italian voltafaccia, equivalent to volta turn (see volt2) + faccia face Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for volte-face
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It was the same as that which he had for Hincks's volte-face. '

    The Tribune of Nova Scotia

    W. L. (William Lawson) Grant
  • For if the volte-face is general, the only embarrassment arises from not executing it.

    The Angel of Pain E. F. Benson
  • But Russia's betrayal is not sufficient to account for the Serbian volte-face.

    After the Rain Sam Vaknin
  • Such a volte-face as this was not only palpably unjust, it was altogether too nimble a bit of gymnastics for Duplay to appreciate.

    Tristram of Blent Anthony Hope
  • What will justify such a volte-face and with what excuse can he repudiate the principles with which he justified his takeover?

  • The volte-face sounds more abrupt than it really was if it be remembered that he never had more than one object in view at a time.

    Sonia Between two Worlds Stephen McKenna
  • And for all their talk of freedom, Lennan could see the volte-face his friends would be making, if they only knew.

    The Dark Flower John Galsworthy
  • These four factors coalesced during 1948 and led to a reassessment of policy and, finally, to a volte-face.

  • Lastly, they have, in its highest development, the capacity to make a volte-face with grace and equanimity.

    A Woman's Impression of the Philippines Mary H. (Mary Helen) Fee
British Dictionary definitions for volte-face


noun (pl) volte-face
a reversal, as in opinion or policy
a change of position so as to look, lie, etc, in the opposite direction
Word Origin
C19: from French, from Italian volta-faccia, from volta a turn + faccia face
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 volte-face

a reversal of opinion, 1819, French, from Italian volta faccia, literally "turn face," from volta, imper. of voltare "to turn" (from Vulgar Latin *volvita, from Latin volvere "to roll;" see volvox) + faccia (see face).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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