Meaning of FACE in English



( faces)

Frequency: The word is one of the 700 most common words in English.

Please look at category 25 to see if the expression you are looking for is shown under another headword.


Your face is the front part of your head from your chin to the top of your forehead, where your mouth, eyes, nose, and other features are.

A strong wind was blowing right in my face...

He was going red in the face and breathing with difficulty...

She had a beautiful face.

N-COUNT : oft poss N


If your face is happy, sad, or serious, for example, the expression on your face shows that you are happy, sad, or serious.

He was walking around with a sad face...

The priest frowned into the light, his face puzzled.

N-COUNT : poss N , adj N


The face of a cliff, mountain, or building is a vertical surface or side of it.

...the north face of the Eiger...

He scrambled 200 feet up the cliff face.

N-COUNT : with supp , oft N of n


The face of a clock or watch is the surface with the numbers or hands on it, which shows the time.



If you say that the face of an area, institution, or field of activity is changing, you mean its appearance or nature is changing.

...the changing face of the British countryside...

N-SING : the N of n


If you refer to something as the particular face of an activity, belief, or system, you mean that it is one particular aspect of it, in contrast to other aspects.

Who ever thought people would see Arsenal as the acceptable face of football?

N-SING : the adj N of n


If you lose face , you do something which makes you appear weak and makes people respect or admire you less. If you do something in order to save face , you do it in order to avoid appearing weak and losing people’s respect or admiration.

To cancel the airport would mean a loss of face for the present governor...

She claimed they’d been in love, but I sensed she was only saying this to save face.



see also about-face , face value , poker face


If you say that someone can do something until they are blue in the face , you are emphasizing that however much they do it, it will not make any difference.

You can criticise him until you’re blue in the face, but you’ll never change his personality.

PHRASE : V inflects [ emphasis ]


If someone or something is face down , their face or front points downwards. If they are face up , their face or front points upwards.

All the time Stephen was lying face down and unconscious in the bath tub...

Charles laid down his cards face up.

PHRASE : PHR after v , v-link PHR


You can use the expression ‘ on the face of the earth ’ to mean ‘in the whole world’, when you are emphasizing a statement that you are making or making a very exaggerated statement.

No human being on the face of the earth could do anything worse than what he did.

PHRASE : n PHR , usu after adj-superl / brd-neg [ emphasis ]


If you come face to face with someone, you meet them and can talk to them or look at them directly.

We were strolling into the town when we came face to face with Jacques Dubois...

It was the first face-to-face meeting between the two men.

PHRASE : PHR after v , PHR n , oft PHR with n


If you come face to face with a difficulty or reality, you cannot avoid it and have to deal with it.

Eventually, he came face to face with discrimination again...

PHRASE : PHR after v , PHR n


If an action or belief flies in the face of accepted ideas or rules, it seems to completely oppose or contradict them.

...scientific principles that seem to fly in the face of common sense...

PHRASE : V inflects , PHR n


If you take a particular action or attitude in the face of a problem or difficulty, you respond to that problem or difficulty in that way.

The Prime Minister has called for national unity in the face of the violent anti-government protests...



If you have a long face , you look very unhappy or serious.

He came to me with a very long face.

PHRASE : N inflects


If you make a face , you show a feeling such as dislike or disgust by putting an exaggerated expression on your face, for example by sticking out your tongue. In British English, you can also say pull a face .

Opening the door, she made a face at the musty smell...

Kathryn pulled a face at Thomas behind his back.

PHRASE : V and N inflect , oft PHR at n


You say on the face of it when you are describing how something seems when it is first considered, in order to suggest that people’s opinion may change when they know or think more about the subject.

It is, on the face of it, difficult to see how the West could radically change its position.

PHRASE : PHR with cl


If you put a brave face on a bad situation or put on a brave face , you try not to show how disappointed or upset you are about the situation. In American English you can also say put on a good face .

Friends will see you are putting on a brave face and might assume you’ve got over your grief...

Scientists are putting a good face on the troubles.

PHRASE : V inflects , oft PHR n


You can say that someone has set their face against something to indicate that they are opposed to it, especially when you want to suggest that they are wrong. ( mainly BRIT )

This Government has set its face against putting up income tax.

PHRASE : V inflects , PHR n / -ing


If you show your face somewhere, you go there and see people, although you are not welcome, are rather unwilling to go, or have not been there for some time.

I felt I ought to show my face at her father’s funeral.

PHRASE : V inflects , PHR adv / prep


If you manage to keep a straight face , you manage to look serious, although you want to laugh.

What went through Tom’s mind I can’t imagine, but he did manage to keep a straight face...

You have to wonder how anyone could say that seriously and with a straight face.

PHRASE : PHR after v , with PHR


If you say something to someone’s face , you say it openly in their presence.

Her opponent called her a liar to her face.

PHRASE : PHR after v


If a feeling is written all over your face or is written across your face , it is very obvious to other people from your expression.

Relief and gratitude were written all over his face...

I could just see the pain written across her face.

PHRASE : V inflects


to shut the door in someone’s face: see door

to have egg on your face: see egg

to cut off your nose to spite your face: see nose

a slap in the face: see slap



( faces, facing, faced)

Frequency: The word is one of the 700 most common words in English.

Please look at category 8 to see if the expression you are looking for is shown under another headword.


If someone or something faces a particular thing, person, or direction, they are positioned opposite them or are looking in that direction.

They stood facing each other...

The garden faces south.

VERB : V n , V adv / prep


If you face someone or something, you turn so that you are looking at them.

She stood up from the table and faced him...

Stand up. Face the wall.

VERB : V n , V n


If you have to face a person or group, you have to stand or sit in front of them and talk to them, although it may be difficult and unpleasant.

Christie looked relaxed and calm as he faced the press...

VERB : V n


If you face or are faced with something difficult or unpleasant, or if it faces you, it is going to affect you and you have to deal with it.

Williams faces life in prison if convicted of attempted murder...

We are faced with a serious problem.

VERB : V n , be V-ed with n


If you face the truth or face the facts, you accept that something is true. If you face someone with the truth or with the facts, you try to make them accept that something is true.

Although your heart is breaking, you must face the truth that a relationship has ended...

He accused the Government of refusing to face facts about the economy...

He called a family conference and faced them with the problems.

VERB : V n , V n , V n with n

Face up to means the same as face .

I have grown up now and I have to face up to my responsibilities...



If you cannot face something, you do not feel able to do it because it seems so difficult or unpleasant.

My children want me with them for Christmas Day, but I can’t face it...

I couldn’t face seeing anyone.

VERB : with neg , V n / -ing , V n / -ing


You use the expression ‘ let’s face it ’ when you are stating a fact or making a comment about something which you think the person you are talking to may find unpleasant or be unwilling to admit.

She was always attracted to younger men. But, let’s face it, who is not?

PHRASE : PHR with cl


face the music: see music

Collins COBUILD Advanced Learner's English Dictionary.      Английский словарь Коллинз COBUILD для изучающих язык на продвинутом уровне.