Noun About-face Definition and Examples







(chiefly in military contexts) a turn made so as to face the opposite direction.
  1. 'Their chests swelled with pride as they saluted the general, did an about-face, and marched away exuberantly.'
  2. 'He took me by surprise by reaching out and squeezing my hand before making a complete about-face and heading into the nearest elevator.'
  3. 'Marching stiffly across the room he performed a perfect about-turn before slapping his tiny sandalled foot on the clay floor and saluting.'
  4. 'Brakes squealed as the few cars that happened to travel down that road screeched to a stop and promptly did an about-face, quickly driving in the opposite direction.'
  5. 'He turned a sharp about-face and strode forward.'
  6. 'It would mean officers arrive at the station, complete their pocket book and do an about-turn to go straight back out onto the streets.'
  7. 'the government made an about-turn over the bill'
  8. 'Tewkesbury borough councillors have done an about-turn and withdrawn their support for the county council's controversial one-way system in Tewkesbury High Street.'
  9. 'The sale of the marine shipping assets represents an about-face in direction for BC Rail in recent years.'
  10. 'Either way it is an accurate account of what happened to Orwell's thinking: this was an about-face, a real or metaphoric overnight conversion.'
  11. 'There is nothing intrinsically wrong with politicians doing an about-face, even when the reversal is as stunning as this one.'
  12. 'More important than his about-face in the context of my analysis is Rethel's awareness of his own position as artist.'
  13. 'I simply say to the member opposite that he has done an absolute about-face.'
  14. 'Lil looked up, surprised by the complete about-face he had just done.'
  15. 'That one was so outrageous that it antagonized the entire civilized world, and undoubtedly contributed to the Europeans' about-face on lifting military sanctions against China.'
  16. 'In an about-turn, Justice Humphrey Stollmeyer ruled in favour on Friday of the four policemen, and ordered that each receive $100,000 in damages.'
  17. 'In Germany, the food scare has sparked an about-face on agricultural policy.'


Turn so as to face the opposite direction.
  1. 'He saw Stella, blushed and twirled his hair around with a pencil, and then about-turned sharpish back out of the room.'
  2. 'He glanced around for a moment to make sure no one was around, then about-faced and began walking away.'
  3. 'I about-faced, marched from the porch and started for the road.'
  4. 'It's bad enough that a company which had previously welcomed Matthew's efforts about-faced and got nasty.'
  5. 'The customary smirk returned to Trey's lips and he about-faced, coming closer to the nervous young man.'
  6. 'Hugh about-turned, and headed in the opposite direction to be met with a similar fate.'
  7. 'Peterson sneered, then about-faced and walked back into the Oval Office.'
  8. 'I was ready to about-face and let him drag me home when I noticed an imposing shape in the distance.'
  9. 'With that she about-faced and led me out of the room.'
  10. 'The big dog otter probably got as much of a fright as he did, about-turned and leapt into the water.'


A military command to make an about-turn.


    1. Military. a turn of 180° from the position of attention.

    2. a complete, sudden change in position, direction, principle, attitude, etc.: They've done an about-face in their foreign policy. verb (used without object), about-faced, about-facing.

    3. to execute an about face.

    4. to turn in the opposite direction.

    5. to switch to an opposite opinion.


    "There can be about-face backs."
    "about-faces can be for organizations."
    "about-faces can be over tolls."
    "about-faces can be on fundings."
    "about-faces can be on dates."
    "about-faces can be for people/places/organizations."
    "about-faces can be on extraditions."
    "about-faces can be in sessions."
    "about-faces can be in policies."
    "about-faces can be in offices."
    "about-faces can be in markets."
    "about-faces can be from tightenings."
    "about-faces can be from predictions."
    "about-faces can be from members."
    "about-faces can be from ideas."
    "about-faces can be from dates."
    "about-faces can be for places."
    "about-faces can be for ministers."
    "about-faces can be for governments."
    "about-faces can be for attractions."
    "about-faces can show people with policies."
    "about-faces can show people as opportunists."
    "about-faces can rob people of things."
    "about-faces can threaten with frosts."
    "about-faces can show with policies."
    "about-faces can show as opportunists."
    "about-faces can rob of things."
    "about-faces can be for governments."
    "about-faces can be against uses."

    Late 19th century (originally as a military command): shortening of right about turn.

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