noun, plural ef·fron·ter·ies.

shameless or impudent boldness; barefaced audacity: She had the effrontery to ask for two free samples.
an act or instance of this.

Origin of effrontery

1705–15; < French effronterie, equivalent to Old French esfront shameless (es- ex-1 + front brow; see front) + -erie -ery

Synonyms for effrontery

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for effrontery

Contemporary Examples of effrontery

Historical Examples of effrontery

  • You know that Milbrey girl must get her effrontery direct from where they make it.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • I could not but reflect how shocked our King would be to learn of this effrontery.

    Ruggles of Red Gap

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Will you have the effrontery to tell me that is the coast of Curacao?

    Captain Blood

    Rafael Sabatini

  • He stumbled away to wash his hands, utterly crushed by her effrontery.

  • He stared at me a moment, as if my effrontery astonished him.

    The Strolling Saint

    Raphael Sabatini

British Dictionary definitions for effrontery


noun plural -ies

shameless or insolent boldness; impudent presumption; audacity; temerity

Word Origin for effrontery

C18: from French effronterie, from Old French esfront barefaced, shameless, from Late Latin effrons, literally: putting forth one's forehead; see front
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

Word Origin and History for effrontery

1715, from French effronterie, from effronté "shameless," from Old French esfronte "shameless, brazen," probably from Late Latin effrontem (nominative effrons) "barefaced," from Latin ex- "out" (see ex-) + frontem (nominative frons) "brow" (see front (n.)).

Latin frontus had a sense of "ability to blush," but the literal sense of effrontery often has been taken to be "putting forth the forehead." Forehead in Johnson's Dictionary (1755) has a secondary sense of "impudence; confidence; assurance; audaciousness; audacity."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper