Definition of face noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//feɪs//
    ; NAmE NAmE//feɪs//
    Body parts, Face
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    front of head
  1. 1   the front part of the head between the forehead and the chin a pretty/round/freckled face He buried his face in his hands. You should have seen the look on her face when I told her! The expression on his face never changed. At that time, her face was on the covers of all the magazines. See related entries: Body parts, Face
  2. expression
  3. 2  an expression that is shown on somebody’s face a sad/happy/smiling face Her face lit up (= showed happiness) when she spoke of the past. His face fell (= showed disappointment, sadness, etc.) when he read the headlines. Sue's face was a picture (= she looked very surprised, angry, etc.) as she listened to her husband's speech. see also game face Vocabulary BuildingExpressions on your face To beam is to have a big happy smile on your face. To frown is to make a serious, angry or worried expression by bringing your eyebrows closer together so that lines appear on your forehead. To glare or glower is to look in an angry, aggressive way. To grimace is to make an ugly expression with your face to show pain, disgust, etc. To scowl is to look at someone in an angry or annoyed way. To smirk is to smile in a silly or unpleasant way that shows that you are pleased with yourself, know something that other people do not know, etc. To sneer is to show that you have no respect for someone by turning your upper lip upwards.These words can also be used as nouns:She looked up with a puzzled frown. He gave me an icy glare. a grimace of pain
  4. -faced
  5. 3  (in adjectives) having the type of face or expression mentioned pale-faced grim-faced More Like This Compound adjectives for physical characteristics -beaked, -bellied, -billed, -blooded, -bodied, -cheeked, -chested, -eared, -eyed, -faced, -fingered, -footed, -haired, -handed, -headed, -hearted, -hipped, -lidded, -limbed, -mouthed, -necked, -nosed, -skinned, -tailed, -throated, -toothedSee worksheet.
  6. person
  7. 4  (in compounds) used to refer to a person of the type mentioned She looked around for a familiar face. a well-known face on our television screens It's nice to see some new faces here this evening. I'm fed up of seeing the same old faces every time we go out!
  8. side/surface
  9. 5  a side or surface of something the north face of the mountain The birds build their nests in the rock face. Ivy covered the front face of the house. How many faces does a cube have? see also coalface
  10. front of clock
  11. 6the front part of a clock or watch
  12. character/aspect
  13. 7face of something the particular character of something the changing face of Britain
  14. 8face of something a particular aspect of something the unacceptable face of capitalism
  15. see also in-your-face, typeface, volte-face
    Word OriginMiddle English: from Old French, based on Latin facies ‘form, appearance, face’.Extra examples A face peered around the door at him. A wry smile crossed his face. From the stage, he looked down at a sea of faces. He has become the public face of the company. He searched her face for some clue as to what she meant. He tilted her face up to his. Her face betrayed no emotion at all. Her face broke into a wide smile. Her face contorted in pain. Her face crumpled and she started crying. Her face darkened with anger. Her face paled with fright. Her face suddenly grew serious. Her face was flushed after her run. Her little face lit up when I gave her the present. Her short hair suited her elfin face. His eyes were sunken in his gaunt face. His face cleared and she smiled back. His face looked a little confused. His face remained impassive, so strong was his self-control. His face set in grim lines. His face was set and hard. I looked around for a familiar face. I’m so bored with seeing the same old faces! Jack’s face flushed with embarrassment. Mr Hibbs came in with a face like thunder. She drew a little yellow smiley face. She had a big smile on her face. She had a plump, pretty face. She has a beautiful, oval face. She looked at the honest, open face of her husband. She made a disgusted face at that and walked away. She made a funny face and gave a snorting sort of laugh. She placed the cards face down on the table. She put some powder on her face. She turned her face away. Social deprivation is the unacceptable face of capitalism. The ball hit him in the face. The face smiled benignly at him. The father’s face softened as he hugged his little boy. The look on his face was priceless. The news for the company isn’t good, judging from the long faces in the boardroom. This discovery changed the whole face of science. We slowly climbed the steep face of the crag. a craggy face with deep-set eyes and bushy brows a restaurant where you often see famous faces bureaucracy with a human face the sight of Sarah’s smiling face beaming up at him Her face lit up when she spoke of the past. His face fell when he read the headlines. Sue’s face was a picture as she listened to her husband’s speech.Idioms
      be staring somebody in the face
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    1. 1to be obvious or easy to see The answer was staring us in the face.
    2. 2to be certain to happen Defeat was staring them in the face.
    be staring something in the face
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    to be unable to avoid something They were staring defeat in the face.
    be written all over somebody’s face
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    (of a feeling) to be very obvious to other people from the expression on somebody’s face Guilt was written all over his face.
    blow up in somebody’s face
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    if a plan, etc. blows up in your face, it goes wrong in a way that causes you damage, embarrassment, etc.
    cut off your nose to spite your face
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    (informal) to do something when you are angry that is meant to harm somebody else but which also harms you
    disappear/vanish off the face of the earth
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    to disappear completely Keep looking—they can't just have vanished off the face of the earth.
    do something till you are blue in the face
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    (informal) to try to do something as hard and as long as you possibly can but without success You can argue till you're blue in the face, but you won't change my mind.
    somebody’s face doesn’t fit
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    used to say that somebody will not get a particular job or position because they do not have the appearance, personality, etc. that the employer wants, even when this should not be important It doesn't matter how well qualified you are, if your face doesn't fit, you don't stand a chance.
    somebody’s face is like thunder, somebody has a face like thunder
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    somebody looks very angry See related entries: Anger, Facial expressions
    face to face (with somebody)
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     close to and looking at somebody The two have never met face to face before. The room fell silent as she came face to face with the man who had tried to kill her.
    face to face with something
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     in a situation where you have to accept that something is true and deal with it She was at an early age brought face to face with the horrors of war.
    1. 1  (of a person) with your face and stomach facing upwards/downwards She lay face down on the bed.
    2. 2  with the front part or surface facing upwards/downwards Place the card face up on the pile.
    1. 1to fall so that you are lying on your front
    2. 2to fail completely, usually causing embarrassment His next television venture fell flat on its face.
    (informal, usually disapproving) to eat a lot of food or too much food
    fly in the face of something
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    to oppose or be the opposite of something that is usual or expected Such a proposal is flying in the face of common sense.
    have the face to do something
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    (British English, informal) to do something that other people think is rude or shows a lack of respect, without feeling embarrassed or ashamed I don't know how you have the face to complain after everything they've done for you!
    have/be left with egg on/all over your face
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    (informal) to be made to look stupid They were left with egg on their faces when only ten people showed up.
    (North American English, informal) annoying somebody by criticizing them or telling them what to do all the time See related entries: Describing annoying traits
      in the face of something
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    1. 1despite problems, difficulties, etc. She showed great courage in the face of danger. The campaign continued in the face of great opposition.
    2. 2as a result of something He was unable to deny the charges in the face of new evidence.
    laugh in somebody’s face
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    to show in a very obvious way that you have no respect for somebody
    laugh on the other side of your face
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    (British English, informal) to be forced to change from feeling pleased or satisfied to feeling disappointed or annoyed He’ll be laughing on the other side of his face when he reads my letter.
    (pull, wear, etc.) a long face
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    (to have) an unhappy or disappointed expression He took one look at her long face and said ‘What’s wrong?’ See related entries: Unhappiness
    look somebody in the eye(s)/face
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    (usually used in negative sentences and questions) to look straight at somebody without feeling embarrassed or ashamed Can you look me in the eye and tell me you're not lying? I'll never be able to look her in the face again!
    to be less respected or look stupid because of something you have done (humorous) used to emphasize that you have particular skills or qualities ‘I didn't know you could play the piano.’ ‘I'm not just a pretty face, you know!’ (informal) used to say that something seems to be good, true, etc. but that this opinion may need to be changed when you know more about it On the face of it, it seems like a great deal. What may, on the face of it, seem obvious often turns out to be far more complicated.
    (as) plain as a pikestaff, (as) plain as day, (as) plain as the nose on your face
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    very obvious
    pull/make faces/a face (at somebody)
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     to produce an expression on your face to show that you do not like somebody/something or in order to make somebody laugh What are you pulling a face at now? Do you think it’s funny to make faces behind my back? See related entries: Facial expressions
    (informal) to put on make-up
    put on a brave face, put a brave face on something
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    to pretend that you feel confident and happy when you do not I had to put on a brave face and try to show him that I wasn’t worried. She put a brave face on her illness.
    save (somebody’s) face
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    to avoid or help somebody avoid embarrassment She was fired, but she saved face by telling everyone she'd resigned.
    set your face against somebody/something
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    (especially British English) to be determined to oppose somebody/something Her father had set his face against the marriage.
    to appear among your friends or in public She stayed at home, afraid to show her face.
      shut/slam the door in somebody’s face
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    1. 1to shut a door hard when somebody is trying to come in
    2. 2to refuse to talk to somebody or meet them, in a rude way
    (slang) a rude way of telling somebody to be quiet or stop talking an action that seems to be intended as a deliberate insult to somebody if you keep a straight face, you do not laugh or smile, although you find something funny see also straight-faced if you say something to somebody’s face, you say it to them directly rather than to other people He’s a liar, and I’ve told him so to his face many times. compare behind somebody’s back (informal) used to refer to a person whose name you cannot remember Are you still working for what's her face?
    wipe somebody/something off the face of the earth, wipe something off the map
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    to destroy or remove somebody/something completely
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: face