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From Middle French frontispice, from Latin frontispicium, from frōns (forehead) + specere (look at). Spelling altered due to folk etymology, influenced by piece.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈfɹʌn.tɪsˌpiːs/, /ˈfɹɒn.tɪsˌpiːs/[1][2]
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈfɹʌn.tɪsˌpis/, /ˈfɹɑn.tɪsˌpis/[3]


frontispiece (plural frontispieces)

  1. (publishing) An illustration that is on the page before the title page of a book, a section of one, or a magazine.
    • 1939 September, D. S. Barrie, “The Railways of South Wales”, in Railway Magazine, page 163:
      The viaduct was illustrated as a frontispiece to THE RAILWAY MAGAZINE of September, 1938. [In this case, the frontispiece is between the title page and the first article.]
  2. (archaic, publishing) The title page of a book.
  3. (architecture) A façade, especially an ornamental one.
  4. (architecture) A small ornamental pediment, especially at the top of a window or door.
  5. (slang, archaic, humorous) A person's face.
    • 1844, George Pope Morris, ‎Nathaniel Parker Willis, The New Mirror (volume 3, page 99)
      He carries on his frontispiece the indubitable marks of a money-dealer. His is one of those peculiar faces []



frontispiece (third-person singular simple present frontispieces, present participle frontispiecing, simple past and past participle frontispieced)

  1. (transitive, rare) To supply with a frontispiece.
    The novel was frontispieced with a portrait of the author.


  1. ^ The Chambers Dictionary, 9th Ed., 2003
  2. ^ frontispiece” in the Collins English Dictionary
  3. ^ frontispiece” in Unabridged,, LLC, 1995–present.