Green’s Dictionary of Slang

face n.

1. [17C+] (US, also facial area) audacity, impudence.

2. [mid-18C–mid-19C] credit at a public house.

3. [mid-19C+] (US) the mouth, as a source of speech; in phrs. below.

4. [late 19C–1910s] (US) the mouth, as used for eating and drinking.

5. [late 19C–1950s] (US) a person, with ref. to interference, nosiness.

6. [late 19C+] a general term of address, e.g. Hello, face.

7. [1920s+] (Aus.) one’s personal appearance.

8. [1930s–40s] (US black) a stranger, esp. a white stranger.

9. [1930s+] (US) fellatio or cunnilingus; usu. as get face or give face.

10. [1940s] (US black) a white person.

11. [1940s+] (US) a cosmetics kit, thus make-up.

12. [1940s+] a person; esp. in police use, a known criminal.

13. [1950s] (US Und.) a respectable image, a ‘front’.

14. [1960s+] a recognizable person.

15. [1960s+] a fellow member of a mod gang, esp. one who is considered particularly fashionable.

16. [1960s+] (UK Und.) a professional criminal, usu. an armed robber with no territorial ambitions.

Pertaining to oral sex

In compounds

face artist (n.) [-artist sfx]

[1920s+] (US Und.) a fellator or fellatrix.

face cream (n.) [cream n.1 (1)]

[1970s+] (US gay) semen, esp. when ejaculated onto a fellator’s face.

face job (n.)

[late 19C–1930s] (US) cunnilingus.

face-maker (n.)

a counterfeiter.

face-painting (n.)

[1990s+] the ejaculation of semen over one’s partner’s face.

In phrases

face the nation (v.)

[1970s+] (US black) to perform cunnilingus.

give up one’s face (v.) [sense 9]

[1960s+] to permit oneself to indulge in oral intercourse at the insistence of a partner.

Pertaining to the mouth

In phrases

open one’s face (v.)

[late 19C+] (US) to speak, esp. to speak rudely.

shut one’s face (v.) (also close one’s face, shut one’s face up)

[late 19C+] to be quiet; esp. as imper. shut your face!

SE in slang uses

In compounds

face-ache (n.)

1. [20C+] a beating-up.

2. [1930s+] a joc. form of address or nickname [the ache presumably comes f. laughter].

facebox (n.)

the head.

face-card (n.)

[1990s+] (US black) $100 bill.

face fart (n.)

1. [2000s] (N.Z.) a belch.

2. [2000s] (N.Z.) a general term of abuse.

face fins (n.)

[20C+] a moustache, presumably a large one that protrudes on either side of the cheeks.

face fittings (n.)

[20C+] a beard and/or moustache.

face fluff (n.)

[1900s] (Aus.) male facial hair.


see separate entries.

face fungus (n.) (also face fur, fungus)

[20C+] male facial hair, i.e. a beard and/or moustache; occas. as a term of address.

face-lace (n.)

[1920s–40s] whiskers; a beard.

face-maker (n.)

[early 19C] a father of an illegitimate child; thus face-making, conceiving a child illegitimately.

face-man (n.) [note the character Faceman in the 1980s US TV series The A-Team]

[1960s–80s] an attractive man, a ‘pretty boy’.

face music (n.)

[1900s] (US) speech, verbal delivery.

face-palm (v.)

to place one’s palm on one’s forehead to indicate frustration or stupidity; also as n. and excl.

face-plaster (n.) [it ‘bandages up’ a miserable face]

[1940s+] (Aus.) an alcoholic drink.

face-prickle (n.)

[1990s+] (Aus.) facial hair.

face rape (v.) [on model of SE date rape]

[1980s+] (US campus) to kiss passionately.

face stretcher (n.)

[1920s] (US) an old woman who attempts to look young.

In phrases

as many faces as a churchyard clock [church clocks can have faces on all four sides of a rectangular tower]

[20C+] used of anyone seen as duplicitous or unreliable.

face like...

see separate entry.

face made of a fiddle

[mid-18C] a phr. used to describe someone who is irresistibly charming.

get out of someone’s face (v.) (also get out of someone’s ass)

[1920s+] (orig. US black) to stop pestering, to leave alone, esp. as imper.; vars. are ad hoc, see cits. 1928 and 1979; thus in someone’s face

go off one’s face (v.)

[1960s] to collapse with laughter.

have a face on one (v.)

1. [20C+] to be ugly, e.g. she’s got a face on her like...

2. [1980s+] to be in a troubled, nervous mood.

have ne’er a face but one’s own (v.) (also have never a face but one’s own, have no face but one’s own) [the ‘faces’ are those on coins]

[late 17C–early 18C] to be penniless.

in someone’s face (also in someone’s business) [get out of someone’s face ; ult. basketball use, when a defensive player crowds his opposite number. The term, while ostensibly a negative use, can sometimes be considered positive by its primary users, the young; note also face v. (2)]

[1940s+] (orig. US black) in a confrontational manner, used of one who forces their attentions on another; often as get in someone’s face v., to confront, to provoke.

in-your-face (adj.) [in someone’s face ] [1970s+] (orig. US)

1. aggressive, intense, confrontational.

2. unashamed.

no face no case

[2010s] (UK/US Black / gang) phr. claiming that if the police have no idenification of an individual, they cannot bring a case against them in court.

off one’s face (adj.) [1960s+]

1. under the influence of drink or drugs.

2. in fig. use, extremely enthusiastic about.

3. crazy.

on one’s face (adv.)

[late 19C–1910s] (US) on credit, for free.

out of one’s face (adj.)

[1970s+] under the influence of drink or drugs.

out of someone’s face

[1980s] (UK black) absent, away.

push a face (v.) [ext. use of SE push one’s face forward]

[mid-18C] to obtain credit through deceit or bravado.

run (on) one’s face (for) (v.) [SE run, to enter into a race, i.e. to bet one’s face, as the agent of obtaining credit]

[late 18C+] (orig. US) to obtain credit.

soak one’s/the face (v.)

see under soak v.1 .

up in someone’s face

[1970s+] (orig. US black) arguing with, confronting face-to-face.

In exclamations

in your face! (also in your gob! your face!)

[1950s+] a dismissive rejoinder.

your face and my ass! (also your face and my arse! ...butt! my ass and your face!) [the implication is kiss my arse! excl.; however, the original use of the phr. is as a derog. retort to a request for a match (i.e. a light), the implication being that the face and ass are a ‘match’ (i.e. look the same)]

[1960s+] a general dismissive excl., often following a real or imagined request for a match.