View synonyms for face


[ feys ]


  1. the front part of the head, from the forehead to the chin.
  2. a look or expression on the front part of the head:

    She wore a sad face.

    Synonyms: mien, aspect, countenance, appearance

  3. a contorted expression or look that indicates ridicule, disgust, etc.; grimace:

    Go to bed right now, and don't you give me that face.

  4. Excuse me while I go to the powder room to put on my face.

  5. It shocks me that you'd have the face to ask such a rude question.

  6. outward appearance:

    These are just old problems with new faces.

  7. someone who represents or speaks on behalf of a company or product; spokesperson:

    Steve Jobs was the face of Apple computers.

  8. 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.

    Synonyms: exterior

  9. good reputation; standing; prestige:

    They hushed up the family scandal to preserve face.

  10. the amount specified in a bill or note, exclusive of interest.
  11. the manifest sense or express terms, as of a document.
  12. the geographic characteristics or general appearance of a land surface.
  13. the surface:

    the face of the earth.

  14. 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.

  15. the most important or most frequently seen side; front:

    the face of a building.

    Synonyms: facade

  16. the outer or upper side of a fabric; right side.
  17. the acting, striking, or working surface of an implement, tool, etc.
  18. Geometry. any of the bounding surfaces of a solid figure:

    A cube has six faces.

  19. Also called ba·by·face [bey, -bee--feys]. Professional Wrestling. a headlining wrestler who plays a heroic character and typically wins matches against the wrestler playing a villainous role. Compare heel 3( def 2 ).
  20. Also called work·ing face [wur, -king feys]. Mining. the front or end of a drift or excavation, where the material is being or was last mined.
  21. Printing.
    1. the working surface of a type, of a plate, etc.
    2. Also called type·face [tahyp, -feys],. any design of type, including a full range of characters, as letters, numbers, and marks of punctuation, in all sizes:

      Garamond is one of the most popular faces.

    3. Also called typeface,. the general style or appearance of type:

      broad or narrow face.

  22. Nautical, Aeronautics. the rear or after side of a propeller blade ( back 1def 12 ).
  23. Fortification. either of the two outer sides that form the salient angle of a bastion or the like.
  24. Crystallography. any of the plane surfaces of a crystal.
  25. Electronics. faceplate ( def 3 ).
  26. Archaic. sight; presence:

    to flee from the face of the enemy.

verb (used with object)

, faced, fac·ing.
  1. to look toward or in the direction of:

    When speaking, remember to face the light.

  2. to have the front toward or permit a view of:

    The building faces Fifth Avenue.

    The bedroom faces the park.

  3. to confront directly:

    to be faced with a problem;

    to face the future confidently.

  4. to confront courageously, boldly, or impudently (usually followed by down or out ):

    He could always face down his detractors.

  5. to oppose or to meet defiantly:

    We face fearful odds in this battle.

    Army faces Navy in today's football game.

  6. to cover or partly cover with a different material in front:

    They faced the old wooden house with brick.

    Synonyms: veneer

  7. to finish the edge of a garment with facing, a piece of fabric added for ornament or strengthening.
  8. to turn the front of (a playing card) upward.
  9. to dress or smooth the surface of (a stone or the like).
  10. to cause (soldiers) to turn to the right, left, or in the opposite direction.
  11. Ice Hockey. (of a referee) to put (the puck) in play by dropping it between two opposing players each having a stick on the ice and facing the goal of the opponent.

verb (used without object)

, faced, fac·ing.
  1. to turn or be turned (often followed by to or toward ):

    She faced toward the sea.

  2. 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.

  3. to turn to the right, left, or in the opposite direction:

    Left face!

  4. Ice Hockey. to face the puck; put the puck in play (often followed by off ).

verb phrase

    1. to acknowledge; admit:

      to face up to the facts.

    2. to meet courageously; confront:

      He refused to face up to his problems.

    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 by dropping the puck into play between two opposing players.
  1. to confront boldly or intimidate (an opponent, critic, etc.).



abbreviation for

  1. Fellow of the Australian College of Education
“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



/ feɪs /


    1. the front of the head from the forehead to the lower jaw; visage
    2. ( as modifier )

      face cream

      face flannel

    1. the expression of the countenance; look

      a sad face

    2. a distorted expression, esp to indicate disgust; grimace

      she made a face

  1. informal.
    make-up (esp in the phrase put one's face on )
  2. outward appearance

    the face of the countryside is changing

  3. appearance or pretence (esp in the phrases put a bold, good, bad, etc, face on )
  4. worth in the eyes of others; dignity (esp in the phrases lose or save face )
  5. informal.
    impudence or effrontery
  6. the main side of an object, building, etc, or the front

    a cliff face

    the face of a palace

  7. the marked surface of an instrument, esp the dial of a timepiece
  8. 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

  9. the uppermost part or surface

    the face of the earth

  10. Also calledside any one of the plane surfaces of a crystal or other solid figure
  11. mountaineering a steep side of a mountain, bounded by ridges
  12. either of the surfaces of a coin, esp the one that bears the head of a ruler
  13. slang.
    a well-known or important person
  14. Also calledtypeface printing
    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
  15. nautical aeronautics the aft or near side of a propeller blade
  16. fly in the face of
    to act in defiance of
  17. in one's face
    directly opposite or against one
  18. in face of or in the face of
  19. look someone in the face
    to look directly at a person without fear or shame
  20. on the face of it
    to all appearances
  21. set one's face against
    to oppose with determination
  22. show one's face
    to make an appearance
  23. shut one's face slang.
    often imperative to be silent
  24. to someone's face
    in someone's presence; directly and openly

    I told him the truth to his face

  25. until one is blue in the face informal.
    to the utmost degree; indefinitely
“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


  1. whenintr, often foll by to, towards, or on to look or be situated or placed (in a specified direction)

    the house faces on the square

  2. to be opposite

    facing page 9

  3. tr to meet or be confronted by

    in his work he faces many problems

  4. tr to accept or deal with something

    let's face it, you're finished

  5. tr to provide with a surface of a different material

    the cuffs were faced with velvet

  6. to dress the surface of (stone or other material)
  7. tr to expose (a card) with the face uppermost
  8. military to order (a formation) to turn in a certain direction or (of a formation) to turn as required

    right face!

  9. ice hockey
    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
  10. face the music informal.
    to confront the consequences of one's actions
“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


/ fās /

  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.

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Derived Forms

  • ˈfaceable, adjective
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Other Words From

  • face·a·ble adjective
  • sub·face noun
  • un·der·face noun
  • un·der·face verb (used with object) underfaced underfacing
  • un·face·a·ble adjective
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Word History and Origins

Origin of face1

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English noun face, fas, from Anglo-French, Old French, from unattested Vulgar Latin facia, for Latin faciēs “appearance” ( facies ); verb derivative of the noun
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Word History and Origins

Origin of face1

C13: from Old French, from Vulgar Latin facia (unattested), from Latin faciēs form, related to facere to make
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Idioms and Phrases

  1. get out of someone's face, Informal. to go away and stop annoying or badgering someone (usually used imperatively); leave someone in peace:

    Get out of my face, I'm busy here!

    I know I have to pay up, I just wish they'd get out of my face about it.

  2. face to face with, in close proximity to; narrowly escaping; confronting:

    face to face with death.

  3. 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.

  4. 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. Informal. confrontational toward someone, as by criticizing or annoying persistently:

      My dad got in my face about my bad grades.

  5. 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.

  6. in your face, Informal. in your face ( def ).
  7. lose face, to suffer disgrace, humiliation, or embarrassment:

    It was impossible to apologize publicly without losing face.

  8. 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.

  9. on the face of it, to outward appearances; superficially; seemingly:

    On the face of it, there was no hope for a comeback.

  10. put on a bold face, to give the appearance of confidence or assurance: Also put a bold face on.

    Everyone knew that he had been fired, even though he put on a bold face.

  11. save face, to avoid disgrace, humiliation, or embarrassment:

    She tried to save face by saying that the bill had never arrived.

  12. set one's face against, to disapprove strongly of; oppose:

    My dad has set his face against my becoming an actress.

  13. 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.

  14. to one's face, in one's presence; brazenly; directly:

    Tell him to his face that he's a liar!

  15. face the music. music ( def 9 ).
  16. fly in the face of. fly 2( def 35 ).

More idioms and phrases containing face

  • at face value
  • blue in the face
  • brave face
  • do an about-face
  • egg on one's face
  • feed one's face
  • fly in the face of
  • hide one's face
  • in someone's face
  • in the face of
  • in your face
  • keep a straight face
  • laugh out of the other side of one's mouth (face)
  • long face
  • look someone in the face
  • lose face
  • make a face
  • on the face of it
  • plain as day (the nose on your face)
  • poker face
  • put one's face on
  • red in the face
  • save face
  • set one's face against
  • show one's face
  • slap in the face
  • stare in the face
  • stuff one's face
  • talk one's arm off (until blue in the face)
  • throw in someone's face
  • to someone's face
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Synonym Study

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.
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Example Sentences

In the post, featuring a picture of the two hugging closely with smiles plastered on their faces, the Next Friday star lamented his father’s passing and expressed gratitude for the memories they shared.

It takes fearlessness to go head to head with a giant company, but it’s important to stand up in the face of what can be overwhelming.

There’s the pain in Coach Mark Few’s face on ESPN in March when the tournament cancellation happened, his smashing team done at 31-2.

I normally connect with a guy face to face, which makes the interaction more organic.

When you breathe in, you should feel suction up against your face.

In that photo, Merabet has a big smile that spreads across his whole face and lights up his eyes.

Cassandra, whose hair has already begun to fall out from her court-mandated chemotherapy, could face a similar outcome.

They know they will face either a swift backlash or deafening silence.

They are to face oppression with humble persistence and absolute conviction.

She narrowed her eyes, bit her lip as if to chew over the question, and whisked some stray blond hairs away from her face.

It is most peculiar, and when he plays that way, the most bewitching little expression comes over his face.

Bernard stood there face to face with Mrs. Vivian, whose eyes seemed to plead with him more than ever.

A Yankee, whose face had been mauled in a pot-house brawl, assured General Jackson that he had received his scars in battle.

With a suffocating gasp, she fell back into the chair on which she sat, and covered her face with her hands.

Joe looked at her with a smile, his face still solemn and serious for all its youth and the fires of new-lit hope behind his eyes.


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More About Face

What is a basic definition of face?

Face refers to the front of the head, from the top of the forehead to the bottom of the chin. Face also refers to an expression that someone makes using their face. Face is also used as a verb to mean to confront something directly. Face has a large number of other senses as a noun and a verb.

Your face consists of your forehead, eyebrows, eyes, eyelashes, nose, cheeks, mouth, lips, chin, and any facial hair, freckles, or other marks on the front of your head. Your ears may or may not be considered part of your face.

The word face usually refers to a human head, but it’s also used to describe the front of the head of animals that have features similar to a human face, such as cats and apes.

  • Real-life examples: You have a face. Halloween masks often resemble ugly or scary faces. Clowns like to throw pies at people’s faces.
  • Used in a sentence: The actor could see many familiar faces in the audience. 

The word face also refers to an expression or appearance that a person creates using their face.

  • Real-life examples: Parents make funny faces to make their children laugh. A smiling person has a happy face. Horror movies cause many people to make a scared face.
  • Used in a sentence: Gretchen puts on a happy face even when she feels sad. 

As a verb, face is used to mean to confront someone or something directly. If you face your fears, you are trying to deal with them instead of ignoring them. Sometimes, face is used in a similar sense to specifically mean you are confronting an enemy. Criminals, for example, are often forced to face justice even though they really don’t want to.

  • Real-life examples: People are often faced with problems and obstacles they must solve. Experts often tell people to face the facts and not ignore or deny them.
  • Used in a sentence: Roger had to face the harsh reality that his girlfriend had left him. 

Where does face come from?

The first records of face come from around 1250. The noun ultimately comes from the Latin faciēs, meaning “appearance.” The verb comes from the late Middle English verb facen, which comes from the noun.

Did you know … ?

What are some other forms related to face?

  • faceless (adjective)
  • facer (noun)
  • faceable (adjective)
  • subface (noun)
  • underface (noun, verb)
  • unfaceable (adjective)

What are some synonyms for face?

What are some words that share a root or word element with face

What are some words that often get used in discussing face?

How is face used in real life?

Face is a very common word that most often refers to the front of a person’s head.

Try using face!

Which of the following is not part of a person’s face?

A. mouth
B. neck
C. eyes
D. chin

Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.