Meaning of FACE in English

I. ˈfās noun

( -s )

Usage: often attributive

Etymology: Middle English, from Old French, from (assumed) Vulgar Latin facia, from Latin facies form, shape, face, from facere to make, do — more at do


a. : the front part of the human head including the chin, mouth, nose, cheeks, eyes, and usually forehead : visage , countenance

b. : the corresponding part of the head of a lower animal

c. : the part of the vertebrate skull in front of and below the cranium and including the nasal region, jaws, and associated structures

d. : the part of the insect head lying anterior to the vertex, above the mouth, and between the compound eyes

2. archaic : presence , sight , view

thou fleddest from the face of Esau — Gen 35:1 (Authorized Version)


a. : cast of features as expressing emotion or character : expression of countenance

a grave stern face

turned an angry face on his erring son

b. : beauty or glory of countenance

in face far exceeding her sisters

the Lord make his face shine upon thee — Num 6:25 (Authorized Version)


a. : outward appearance, or aspect : semblance

the whole village presented a face of placid contentment

: visible or apparent state or condition

his report put a new face on the matter

also : a cursory or superficial examination or its result

this testimony is false on the face of it

on the face of your report I have no valid objection to raise

b. : an outward appearance of dignity or prestige or of freedom from abashment, confusion, anger, or distress

though he was obviously distressed he put the best face he could on the matter

broadly : disguise , pretense

c. : assurance , confidence

maintaining a firm face in spite of adversity

often : brash or bold conduct or outlook : effrontery

how anyone could have the face to ask such a question

— compare cheek , nerve

d. : dignity , prestige

a man of considerable face in the local community

trying to save face

also : concern for or preservation of one's prestige

face is sometimes a major consideration in diplomatic negotiations


a. : grimace , moue ; especially : an expression of distaste

made a face at the taste of the medicine

b. : mask

the children bought some funny faces for the party

c. : facial makeup

she'll be here as soon as she gets her face on


a. : the surface of something especially where only one surface is commonly considered

mist moving over the face of the water

driven from the face of the earth


(1) : the physical features (as of a country)

(2) obsolete : a description of a country in its physical features

7. : a front, upper, or outer surface or a surface presented to view or regarded as principal: as

a. : the front of anything having two or four sides — opposed to back ; usually distinguished from side

b. : the facade especially of a building

c. : an exposed surface of rock (as in a wall or a cliff)

d. : one of the broad surfaces of a coin : an obverse or reverse

lettering on the edge as well as on the face of a coin

also : the obverse of a currency note

e. : the dial of a watch or clock

a watch with a black enamel face and raised gold figures

f. : any of the plane surfaces that bound a polyhedron (as a crystal) or other geometrical solid

g. : the grille of a hot-air or cold-air register

8. : a side or surface dressed, finished, or specially prepared:

a. : the principal dressed surface (as of a plate, disk, or pulley)

b. : the dressed side of a board finished only on one surface ; sometimes : the side having the better appearance or quality when both are dressed

c. : the right side (as of cloth or leather ; especially : the front side of a fabric in which that side is distinguished from the back by differences of finish, weave, or appearance

d. : the inscribed or printed side of something (as a document or leaf bearing a map or illustration) that has one blank surface ; broadly : the side of something inscribed or printed on both sides that can be considered the front (as by reason of containing major matter)

the face of a stock certificate

e. : the variously colored scoring surface of a target

f. : the front side of a book or book cover

g. : the side of a playing card that is marked to designate its rank and suit

h. : the top or bottom layer of fruit or vegetables in a container especially as arranged for purposes of display

i. : the flat surface of a propeller blade that corresponds to the undersurface of a wing

9. : an acting surface (as of a tool or implement): as

a. : the edge of a cutting implement (as a knife)

b. : the striking surface of the head (as of a hammer or golf club)

c. : the grinding surface of a molar tooth


(1) : the uppermost part of a relief printing surface (as type or a plate) that receives the ink and transfers it to the paper — see type

(2) : typeface — often used in combination

bold face

light face


a. : the end or wall of a mine tunnel, drift, or excavation at which work is progressing or was last done : breast — called also working face

b. : the working surface of a pit or quarry


a. : the part of the acting surface of a gear tooth that projects beyond the pitch line

b. : the width of a pulley or the length of a gear tooth from end to end

c. : the sole of a carpenter's plane

12. astrology : one third of a zodiacal sign or 10 degrees of longitude

13. : face card — used chiefly in the expression neither ace nor face

14. : face value

15. : a cut made in a pine or other tree from which resin exudes

16. : face-off


countenance , visage , physiognomy , mug , puss : these six nouns can all designate the front part of the head including the mouth, nose, eyes, cheeks, and, usually, the forehead. face is the most general, having the common meaning of the group

a person with a pale face

a dog with white markings about the face

countenance , applied only to the human face, stresses appearance, especially as revealing or seeming to reveal an inner condition, as thoughts, character, mood, or frame of mind

their hideous countenances were all bloody and sweaty — Charles Dickens

an expressive countenance

something of dignity in his countenance — Jane Austen

a benign countenance

serious illness and suffering stared from his dark countenance — A.C.Cole

In an older use it can mean a normal, composed expression and suggest a composed state

far beyond them all in person, countenance, air, and walk — Jane Austen

visage , a bookish term very close to countenance in meaning, stresses appearance and often suggests attention to the shape and proportion of the face or to the general impression of character or frame of mind it gives, often distinctive or especially significant

the very visage of a man in love — Edna S. V. Millay

more horrible and cruel that the visages of the wildest savages — Charles Dickens

withered, wrinkled, and loathsome of visage — Oscar Wilde

physiognomy is chiefly used when the interest is the contours of face, shape of features, or characteristic expression as indicating race, temperament, or general character; it is applied today, however, more frequently to the distinguishing aspect or features of things other than the face

a man of saturnine physiognomy

a few of many features from two to three thousand years old which have given Chinese civilization a physiognomy all its own — A.L.Kroeber

mug has a humorous intent in suggesting an ugly, though usually not displeasing, physiognomy

getting your mug in the papers is one of the shameful ways of making a living — Norman Mailer

puss , Irish in origin, is as symptomatic as any of wealth of slang words ( map, kisser, pan, mush ) applying to the face or the central area of it, the nose and mouth, and signifying pretty much what the tenor of the remark containing it would suggest, from a mere synonym for face to a humorous or grim implication of ugliness or offensiveness

she put on a very sour puss when she saw the priest along with me — Frank O'Connor

- in the face of

- to one's face

II. verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: Middle English facen, from face, n.

transitive verb

1. : to confront, controvert, or maintain impudently, brashly, or with excessive assurance : browbeat , bully — now usually used with down or out

the look with which she faced down all opposition in the club

determined to face out the situation he answered all questions curtly


a. : to stand or sit opposite to : occupy a position with the face toward

the audience faced the speaker

he stood facing the window

a large mirror faced the door

b. : to be face-to-face with

they faced one another for the last time

often : to be on the page opposite to

the color plate facing page 857

c. : to front on or toward

the house faced the river

a sheltered valley that faces the morning sun

3. : to meet face-to-face without shrinking, cringing, or withdrawing

I can't bear to face your sister after what has happened

gone with a clear conscience to face his Lord


a. : to meet or oppose firmly and without evasion

we must face the facts

b. : to meet for the purpose of stopping or opposing

such untrained militia can never hope to face veterans successfully

c. : to master, check, or bring to heel by confronting with firm assurance and steady determination to resist or control — used with down

facing down the forces of reaction

we must face down every aggressor

she faced down the rebellious students and sent them back to their books


a. : to recognize or contemplate as an often unpleasant or difficult eventuality confronting one

facing the risk of the operation and weighing it against the certainty of continued suffering

facing the need to retrench he decided to give up luxuries

b. : to be likely or possible and often imminent to or for

extermination faces many of the larger mammals as urbanization destroys their habitats

the king was faced with the loss of his throne unless immediate reforms were instituted

c. : to be an immediate prospect for : threaten

death faces everyone sooner or later

our gambling losses left us faced with ruin

5. : to cover the front or surface of with something (as a protective or ornamental coating)

a building faced with marble

several water-resistant fabrics are faced with plastics

6. : to bring directly to the attention of : confront — usually used with with

faced him with evidence of treachery

faced by two tragic alternatives

7. : to finish an edge of (a textile article) by applying a lining : reinforce (as a section of a garment) by applying a piece of cloth on the inside

8. : to improve the appearance of (cheaper grades of green tea) by use of additives (as coloring matter and soapstone)

9. : to position (a full-page illustration) at right angles to the text — see down II 10b, up I 13c

10. : to turn face up: as

a. : to turn (a playing card) so that the face is exposed usually deliberately — compare expose vt

b. : to arrange (mail) so that addresses on all pieces in a batch face the same way

11. : to arrange (fruits or vegetables) in a container so as to display a face

berries are much more salable when neatly faced


a. : to make the surface of flat or smooth : dress the face of (as a stone or a casting) — often used with off

b. : to shape or smooth the flat as distinguished from the cylindrical surface of (an object being made on a lathe) — often used with up

13. : to cause (troops) to face in a particular direction on command

the captain faced his company to the left

14. : to put (a lacrosse ball) in play by dropping between the crosses of two opposing forwards each of whom stands with his left toward the goal he is attacking ; also : to put (a hockey puck) in play by a similar method

intransitive verb

1. obsolete : to present a false appearance : play the hypocrite


a. : to turn the face

quickly faced to her right

b. : to have or lie so as to have a face or front in a specified direction

the house faced south

3. : to face the puck or ball in certain sports


brave , challenge , dare , beard , defy : face means to confront face-to-face or as if face-to-face. It may imply either resolution and fortitude or realistic appraisal of one's situation

I shuddered, but unflinchingly faced an awful possibility — Rose Macaulay

here we are together facing a group of mighty foes — Sir Winston Churchill

brave stresses the fact of underlying courage, fortitude, or bravado inciting one to dare or endure

though Archbishop Warham mournfully assured the Queen that “the anger of the King is death”, not a few Englishmen were increasingly ready to brave his anger — Francis Hackett

if you find yourself in trouble before them, call on your courage and resolution: brave out every difficulty — Kenneth Roberts

challenge expresses the notion of confronting to invite into competition or contest or to oppose by imputing weakness or fault

Henry IV … had in a manner curbed Bouillon's power, but he tolerated it, and he hesitated to challenge it — Hilaire Belloc

the best medical practitioner turned out by the school, who once dared to challenge the power of the chief of the witch doctors — V.G.Heiser

dare may imply venturesomeness, daring, boldness, love of danger, or even vainglory in risking or tempting fate or retribution

those who dare an enemy greatly should be prepared for the fullest consequences — S.L.A.Marshall

beard suggests a bold confronting, resolute daring, or mocking of someone or something dangerous or powerful

a bold heart yours to beard that raging mob — Alfred Tennyson

for years she led the life of a religious tramp, bearding bishops and allowing herself many eccentricities which … brought her more than once into serious suspicion of Lollardy — G.G.Coulton

defy suggests confronting an opponent with resolution, boldness, and confident assertiveness, sometimes with mocking, arising from the feeling that the strongest efforts thus provoked will fail

fiend, I defy thee … Foul tyrant both of Gods and Humankind, one only being shalt thou not subdue — P.B.Shelley

defy the enemies of our constitution to show the contrary — Edmund Burke

Synonym: see in addition meet .

- face the music

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.