slap in the face

A sharp rebuke or rebuff, as in Being criticized in front of my staff was a real slap in the face, or We thought it quite a slap in the face when they returned our letter unopened. The figurative use of this term, which can also refer to a literal blow, dates from the late 1800s.


Nearby words

  1. slap,
  2. slap bang,
  3. slap bass,
  4. slap dashing,
  5. slap down,
  6. slap on the back,
  7. slap on the wrist,
  8. slap shot,
  9. slap-bang,
  10. slap-happy

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