General English

  • noun the front part of something

General Science


Cars & Driving

  • noun a front, visible or working surface of a part (such as a valve) or a tool (such as a hammer)


  • The surface of a wall, masonry unit, or sheet of material that is exposed to view or designed to be exposed in finish work.
  • To cover the surface layer of one material with another, as to face a wall with brick or fieldstone.
  • The surface area to be excavated during a construction project.
  • The side of a hammer head used to strike.


  • noun the flat front part of the blade of the bat, with which the ball is usually hit
    Citation ‘[In back play] The ball ought to be met with the full face of the bat’ (Badminton 1888)
  • verb to be in the position of defending one’s wicket against the bowler; be the batsman at the striker’s end
    Citation ‘Botham protected Willis so well that he had to face only 5 balls in the last 20 minutes, and we added another 31 crucial runs’ (Brearley 1982)
  • verb to play as a batsman against a particular bowler
    Citation ‘Atherton … said the key to facing Ambrose was not giving him a breakthrough early on. He then grinned ruefully: his own dismissal to the first ball of the innings had started the rout’ (Matthew Engel, Guardian 31 March 1994)


  • A plane surface that bounds a geometric solid. For instance, such a smooth and flat surface of a crystal.
  • The front surface of something. For example, the viewing surface of a dial.

Information & Library Science

  • noun the front cover of a book

Media Studies

  • noun somebody who is well-known or important and who represents a company, brand or product in its advertising
  • noun a typeface, or the printing surface of a type character


  • noun the front part of the head, where the eyes, nose and mouth are placed
  • verb to have your face towards or to look towards something


  • noun the part of a metal character which prints
  • noun the typeface or distinctively designed style of a character
  • noun the side of a film or printed page

Real Estate

  • noun the exterior of the front or side of a large building
  • verb to be positioned or turn so that the front side is directed a particular way or towards something
  • verb to put a smooth surface on a piece of stone


  • noun an outstanding person, someone who is more sophisticated, better dressed, etc. than the rest. A vogue word among mods in 1963 and 1964, probably originating from the idea of a well-known or recognisable face in the crowd, or possibly from a ‘face card’, an expression occasionally heard in the USA, indicating an extraordinary, important or famous person.
  • noun a synonym for ‘cheek’ or front 1. This use of the word was popular in raffish speech from the late 1980s.


  • verb to turn towards somebody or something

Origin & History of “face”

The notion that a person’s face ‘is’ their appearance, what they look like to the rest of the world, lies behind the word face. It probably comes from a prehistoric base *fac-, signifying ‘appear’. this gave rise to Latin faciēs, which originally meant ‘appearance, aspect, form’, and only secondarily, by figurative extension, ‘face’. In due course it passed via vulgar Latin *facia into Old French as face, from which English acquired it (French, incidentally, dropped the sense ‘face’ in the 17th century, although the word face is retained for ‘front, aspect’, etc). Related forms in English include facade (17th c.), facet (17th c.) (originally a diminutive), superficial and surface.