lose face

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Calque of Chinese 丟臉丢脸 (diūliǎn) or 丟面子丢面子 (diū miànzi), both literally “lose face”.


  • (file)


lose face (third-person singular simple present loses face, present participle losing face, simple past and past participle lost face)

  1. (idiomatic) To lose the respect of others; to be humiliated or experience public disgrace.
    • 1986, John Shelby Spong, Beyond Moralism: A Contemporary View of the Ten Commandments, HarperCollins (2000), →ISBN, unnumbered page:
      Ahithophel, Absalom's chief counsel, hanged himself when he lost face after his advice was rejected.
    • 2011, Mel Robbins, Stop Saying You're Fine: Discover a More Powerful You, Crown Archetype (2011), →ISBN, page 221:
      When you start to feel unmotivated, you will look for ways to weasel out of your commitments. We all do it. If there's a stealth way to back out, without ever losing face, you will do it without hesitation.
    • 2012, Sharon Pincott, Battle for the President's Elephants: Life, Lunacy and Elation in the African Bush, Jacana Media (2012), →ISBN, page 97:
      He had arranged for one of his managers to be present in the office with us, so I should have realised immediately that there was little chance of him backing down since that would have meant losing face in front of a subordinate.

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