face


face
face n Face, countenance, visage, physiognomy, mug, puss denote the front part of a human or, sometimes, animal head including the mouth, nose, eyes, forehead, and cheeks.
Face is the simple and direct word
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your face is dirty

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she struck him in the face

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to feel the fog in my throat, the mist in my faceBrowning

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was this the face that launched a thousand ships and burnt the topless towers of Ilium?— Marlowe

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Countenance applies especially to the face as it reveals mood, character, or changing emotions
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a benign countenance

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his face was not the cheerful countenance of yesterday— Cather

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his countenance changed when he heard the news

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something feminine—not effeminate, mind—is discoverable in the countenances of all men of genius— Coleridge

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Especially in the phrases "to keep in countenance" (maintain one's composure) and "to put out of countenance" (cause one to lose one's composure) the term denotes the normal, composed facial expression of one free from mental distress. Sometimes the word is used in place of face when a formal term is desired
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that vile representation of the royal countenanceSwift

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Both face and countenance may be used in personifications when the outward aspect or appearance of anything is denoted
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startling transformations in the outward face of society are taking place under our very eyesFrankfurter

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beholding the bright countenance of truth in the quiet and still air of delightful studies— Milton

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Visage is a more literary term than the preceding words; it often suggests attention to the shape and proportions of the face, but sometimes to the impression it gives or the changes in mood which it reflects
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black hair; complexion dark; generally, rather hand-some visageDickens

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his visage all agrin— Tennyson

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the very visage of a man in loveMillay

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Physiognomy may be preferred when the reference is to the contours of the face, the shape of the features, and the characteristic expression as indicative of race, character, temperament, or disease
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he has the physiognomy of an ascetic

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nor is there in the physiognomy of the people the slightest indication of the Gaul— Landor

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The term may be extended to the significant or sharply defined aspect of things
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not exactly one of those styles which have a physiognomy . . . which stamp an indelible impression of him on the reader's mind— Arnold

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the changing yet abiding physiognomy of earth and sky— Lowes

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Mug, used in informal context, usually carries a suggestion of an ugly but not necessarily displeasing physiognomy
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getting your mug in the papers is one of the shameful ways of making a living— Mailer

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among all the ugly mugs of the world we see now and then a face made after the divine pattern— L. P. Smithy

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Puss sometimes denotes a facial expression (as of anger or pouting)
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she put on a very sour puss when she saw the priest along with me— Frank O'Connor

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but it more often denotes the physiognomy
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it had the head of a bear, the very head and puss of a bear— Gregory

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face vb
1 *meet, encounter, confront
Analogous words: look, watch (see SEE): *gaze, stare, glare: await, look, *expect
2 Face, brave, challenge, dare, defy, beard are comparable because all carry the meaning to confront with courage or boldness.
Face carries no more than this general sense; basically it suggests the confrontation of an enemy or adversary
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here we are together facing a group of mighty foes— Sir Winston Churchill

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but in its extended use it implies a recognition of the power of a force, a fact, or a situation which cannot be escaped to harm as well as to help and a willingness to accept the consequences
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must face the consequences of your own wrong- doing

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strict justice, either on earth or in heaven, was the last thing that society cared to faceHenry Adams

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like ... a tailor's bill, something that has to be faced as it stands and got rid of— Montague

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Brave may imply a show of courage or bravado in facing or encountering
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I must hence to brave the Pope, King Louis, and this turbulent priest— Tennyson

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More often, however, it implies fortitude in facing and in enduring forces which ordinarily would strike the spirit with terror
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firemen braving danger and death to rescue persons trapped in the blazing hotel

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women ... for his sake had braved all social censure— Wilde

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the search for truth . . . makes men and women content to undergo hardships and to brave perils— Eliot

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

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Challenge generally implies a confrontation of a person or thing opposed in such a way that one seems an accuser imputing weakness or fault in the one confronted. Often it may lose the feeling of accusation and then may mean no more than to dispute or question
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our thoughts and beliefs "pass," so long as nothing challenges them— James

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that "Testament" the authenticity of which, foolishly challenged by Voltaire, is sufficiently established— Belloc

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or, on the other hand, it may go farther and suggest a bold invitation to a contest (as a duel or other test of Tightness or skill) which the one challenged cannot refuse
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the degree of courage displayed by Malakai, the best medical practitioner turned out by the School, who once dared to challenge the power of the chief of the witch doctors— Heiser

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or it may suggest bold measures inviting a response or retaliation
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challenge criticism

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challenge attention

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Dare also usually emphasizes boldness rather than fortitude, but it rarely suggests the critical or censorious attitude so frequently evident in challenge. Rather, it implies venturesomeness, love of danger, or moral courage and may connote great or especial merit or mere rashness in the action
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dare the perils of mountain climbing

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dare to be true: nothing can need a lie— Herbert

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and what they dare to dream of, dare to do— J. R. Lowell

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to wrest it from barbarism, to dare its solitudes— Century

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among the newspapers only the Irish Times dared to discuss the issue frankly— Blanshard

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no American dared to be seen reaching for a sandwich by the side of a known Communist— Sulzberger

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Defy, like the others, usually implies a personal agent, but it may be said of things as well. When the idea of challenging is uppermost, the connotation of daring one to test a power which the challenger believes undefeatable or to do what the challenger believes impossible is usually its accompaniment. In either case there is a stronger implication of certainty in one's belief than there is in challenge, and often a clearer suggestion of mockery
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from my walls I defy the pow'rs of Spain— Dry den

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fiend, I defy thee! . . . foul tyrant both of gods and humankind, one only being shalt thou not subdue— Shelley

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I defy[/i] the enemies of our constitution to show the contrary— Burke

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I defy[/i] him to find the gate, however well he may think he knows the city— Kipling

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When the idea of resistance is uppermost, there is a suggestion in defy of a power to withstand efforts, opposition, or rules. It is in this sense that a personal agent is most often not implied, for resistance does not always suggest an exercise of will
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scenes that defy description

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words that defy definition

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a wooden seat put together with nails—a flimsy contrivance, which defies all rules of gravity and adhesion— Jefferies

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the tall erect figure, defying age, and the perfectly bald scalp defying the weather— Upton Sinclair

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Beard, although it implies defiance, often differs from defy in suggesting resolution rather than daring or mockery as its motive; in that way it comes somewhat closer to face and to brave
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what! am I dared and bearded to my face?— Shak.

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

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for years she led the life of a religious tramp, bearding bishops and allowing herself many eccentricities— Coulton

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Analogous words: confront, encounter, *meet: oppose, withstand, *resist: *contend, fight
Antonyms: avoid
Contrasted words: evade, elude, shun, *escape

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • face — face …   Dictionnaire des rimes

  • face — [ fas ] n. f. • XIIe; lat. pop. °facia, class. facies 1 ♦ Partie antérieure de la tête humaine. ⇒ figure, tête, visage. « La face est le moyen d expression du sentiment » (Malraux). Une face large, pleine, colorée. « dans sa face rasée, ronde,… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • face — FÁCE, fac, vb. III. a. tranz. I. 1. A întocmi, a alcătui, a făuri, a realiza, a fabrica un obiect. Face un gard. ♢ A procura un obiect, dispunând confecţionarea lui de către altcineva. Îşi face pantofi. 2. A construi, a clădi; a ridica, a aşeza.… …   Dicționar Român

  • Face — (f[=a]s), n. [F., from L. facies form, shape, face, perh. from facere to make (see {Fact}); or perh. orig. meaning appearance, and from a root meaning to shine, and akin to E. fancy. Cf. {Facetious}.] 1. The exterior form or appearance of… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Face of a — Face Face (f[=a]s), n. [F., from L. facies form, shape, face, perh. from facere to make (see {Fact}); or perh. orig. meaning appearance, and from a root meaning to shine, and akin to E. fancy. Cf. {Facetious}.] 1. The exterior form or appearance… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • face — FACE. s. f. Visage. Se couvrir la face. destourner sa face. regarder quelqu un en face. voir la face de Dieu. le voir face à face. Face, se dit aussi De la superficie des choses corporelles. La face de la terre. En ce sens on dit. en termes de l… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • face — [fās] n. [ME < OFr < VL facia < L facies, the face, appearance < base of facere, DO1] 1. the front of the head from the top of the forehead to the bottom of the chin, and from ear to ear; visage; countenance 2. the expression of the… …   English World dictionary

  • face — ► NOUN 1) the front part of a person s head from the forehead to the chin, or the corresponding part in an animal. 2) an expression on someone s face. 3) the surface of a thing, especially one presented to the view or with a particular function.… …   English terms dictionary

  • face — n 1 a: outward appearance b: the surface or superficial reading or meaning of something (as a document or statute) that does not take into account outside information the face of [the] deed reveals that she had two purposes in mind State v. Rand …   Law dictionary

  • Face — (f[=a]s), v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Faced}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Facing}.] 1. To meet in front; to oppose with firmness; to resist, or to meet for the purpose of stopping or opposing; to confront; to encounter; as, to face an enemy in the field of battle …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English


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