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1. verb To begin a competition or contest. If you make it to the finals, you'll have to face off against their best player.
2. verb To initiate a competition or contest between two people. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between "face" and "off." The referees will face you two off before the match begins.
3. verb In certain sports (like ice hockey), to begin play by dropping the ball or puck between two opponents. Send your best center out there to face off against theirs.
4. noun A conflict or confrontation. The phrase is typically hyphenated when used as a noun. A: "How long were those two in a face-off before the teacher got there?" B: "Long enough for Joey to give Pete a black eye!"
5. noun In hockey, when the puck is dropped between two opposing players to begin play, either at the start of the game or after a stoppage. The phrase is typically hyphenated when used as a noun. Our center won the face-off and passed the puck up the ice.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
1. . to begin a hockey game with two players facing one another. They faced off and the match was on.
2. to prepare for a confrontation. The opposing candidates faced off and the debate began. They faced off and I knew there was going to be a fight.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. To begin a confrontation or competition: The troublemakers had just faced off when the playground aide noticed them.
2. To begin to confront or compete with someone: Those in favor of the proposal faced off with their opponents yesterday. The incumbent faced off against the challenger in a televised debate.
3. To cause something or someone to begin a confrontation or competition with or against something or someone: The organizers faced the finalists off against each other. The organizers faced each finalist off with the other. The organizers faced these two teams off early in the competition.
4. Sports To start play in ice hockey, lacrosse, and similar games by releasing the puck or ball between two opposing players: In hockey, the teams face off at the start of each period.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
n. a confrontation. (From hockey.) The face-off continued for a few moments till both of them realized that there was no point in fighting.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.