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To lose prestige or respect. His terrible performance in the debate caused him to lose face with the voters.
Fig. to lose status; to become less respectable. John is more afraid of losing face than losing money. Things will go better if you can explain to him where he was wrong without making him lose face.
Be embarrassed or humiliated, especially publicly. For example, Terry lost face when his assistant was promoted and became his boss. Both this expression and the underlying concept come from Asia; the term itself is a translation of the Chinese tiu lien and has been used in English since the late 1800s. Also see save face.
COMMON If you lose face, you do something that makes people stop admiring or respecting you. He was too proud to lose face by looking nervous. You made him look bad. He lost face in front of his crew. Note: You can also say that something loses someone face. The circumstances in which his most senior colleague resigned has lost him face with the Americans. Compare with save face. Note: This is a Chinese expression and refers to the covering of one's face with a fan as a sign of disgrace after revealing one's emotions. `Face' here means the face with a calm expression on it.
lose facesuffer a loss of respect; be humiliated.
This expression was originally associated with China and was a translation of the Chinese idiom tiu lien .
lose ˈfacebe less respected or look stupid because of something you have done: The government can’t agree to the changes without losing face. OPPOSITE: save (somebody’s) face ▶ (a) loss of ˈface noun: This gives him an opportunity to change his mind without loss of face.
lose face, to
To suffer embarrassment; to be publicly humiliated. Both the concept and term are associated with Asian customs, specifically China; in fact, the term is a translation of the Chinese tiu lien. In English it has been used since the late nineteenth century, an early example being R. Hart’s chronicle about China, Arrangements by Which China Has Lost Face (1876). See also save face.
See also: lose