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lose face

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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.

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

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