about face

See synonyms for: about%20faceabout-facedabout-facing on Thesaurus.com

  1. (used as a military command to perform an about-face.)

Origin of about face

An Americanism dating back to 1860–65

Words Nearby about face

Other definitions for about-face (2 of 2)

[ noun uh-bout-feys, uh-bout-feys; verb uh-bout-feys ]

  1. Military. a turn of 180° from the position of attention.

  2. a complete, sudden change in position, direction, principle, attitude, etc.: They've done an about-face in their foreign policy.

verb (used without object),a·bout-faced, a·bout-fac·ing.
  1. to execute an about face.

  2. to turn in the opposite direction.

  1. to switch to an opposite opinion.

Origin of about-face

An Americanism dating back to 1860–65

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use about face in a sentence

  • He turned on his heel in an automatically correct about-face and strode out of the office.

    Day of the Moron | Henry Beam Piper
  • His complete about-face wasn't setting so well with Herr Stohl.

  • He had sternly informed her that she must about-face and do better.

  • Funny change of direction, from planning to go out to China and the East, about-face to planning to settle down and take root.

    Rough-Hewn | Dorothy Canfield
  • Heaven knows at that there was such a sudden pause and about-face as must have made even the stolen dog laugh had it been there.

    In Kings' Byways | Stanley J. Weyman