1. The forward part or surface, as of a building.
2. The area, location, or position directly before or ahead.
3. A position of leadership or superiority.
4. The forehead or face, especially of a bird or other animal.
a. Demeanor or bearing, especially in the presence of danger or difficulty.
b. An outward, often feigned, appearance or manner: They put up a good front.
a. Land bordering a lake, river, or street.
b. A promenade along the water at a resort.
7. A detachable part of a dress shirt covering the chest; a dickey.
a. The most forward line of a combat force.
b. The area of contact between opposing combat forces; a battlefront.
9. Meteorology The interface between air masses of different temperatures or densities.
10. A field of activity: the economic front.
a. A group or movement uniting various individuals or organizations for the achievement of a common purpose; a coalition.
b. A nominal leader lacking in real authority; a figurehead.
c. An apparently respectable person, group, or business used as a cover for secret or illegal activities.
a. The first part; the beginning.
b. The face; the countenance.
1. Of, relating to, aimed at, or located in the front: the front lines; the front row; front property on Lake Tahoe.
2. Linguistics Designating vowels produced at or toward the front of the oral cavity, such as the vowels of green and get.
v. front·ed, front·ing, fronts
1. To look out on; face: a house that fronts the ocean.
2. To meet in opposition; confront.
3. To provide a front for.
4. To serve as a front for.
5. Music To lead (a group of musicians): "Goodman ... became the first major white bandleader to front an integrated group" (Bill Barol).
6. Informal To provide before payment: "In ... personal liability suits, a lawyer is fronting both time and money" (Richard Faille).
7. Linguistics To move (a word or phrase) to the beginning of a clause or sentence, typically for emphasis or contrast.
8. Linguistics To cause (a vowel) to be pronounced farther toward the front of the oral cavity.
1. To have a front; face onto something else: Her property fronts on the highway.
2. To provide an apparently respectable cover for secret or illegal activities: fronting for organized crime.
Used by a desk clerk in a hotel to summon a bellhop.
front and center
In the most prominent position.
[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin frōns, front-, forehead, front.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.