to somebody's face

to (one's) face

To one directly, often quite literally by speaking face to face, as opposed to indirect methods. Hey, if you've got a problem with me, tell me to my face instead of complaining about me to everyone else at work.
See also: face

to somebody’s ˈface

(say something) openly, when speaking to somebody: Would you really call her a liar to her face?I think he’s guilty but I’d never dare say it to his face. OPPOSITE: behind somebody’s back
See also: face
References in classic literature ?
His specialty was to tell you what any individual on the face of the globe was doing at the moment; and what he had done at any time in the past, and what he would do at any time in the future.
He told them what the Supreme Lord of Inde was doing.
Thorpe at all; but I always hoped you would tell me, if you thought I was doing wrong.
All we had now to do was to secrete the gem (which Raffles had prised from its setting, replacing the latter), so that we could stand the strictest search and yet take it ashore with us at Naples; and this Raffles was doing when I turned in.
And, as I obeyed that last behest with all my might, without a thought of what I was doing, save that he bade me do it, I saw his hands shoot up and his head bob down, and his lithe, spare body cut the sunset as cleanly and precisely as though he had plunged at his leisure from a diver's board!
I do not know whether in renouncing the mysterious opportunity to which he alluded, Bellegarde felt that he was doing something very generous.
It seemed to me that I was doing more than my fair share of the work on this trip, and I was beginning to feel strongly on the subject.
There's a road rage phenomenon to social media, where people all of a sudden feel comfortable to say horrible things that you would never say to somebody's face in real life.
The food will just bring some variety and I hope it will bring a smile to somebody's face.
It can zoom right up to somebody's face and hold that frame for as long as is required so we can identify them without them even knowing it's there.
Note the following alternative, formal lexicalisations of the discussed sense 'to be bold': to be bare-FACEd, to have/to bear the FACE to do something, to push/show one's FACE, to travel upon one's FACE, to run one's FACE, to tell something to somebody's FACE.
STUNNING news last week, as it emerged that no journalist on Fleet Street has ever said one thing to somebody's face and another behind somebody's back.