Definition of frontispiece in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈfrən(t)isˌpēs/


1An illustration facing the title page of a book.
Example sentences
  • Passerotti's Self-Portrait with Skeleton, Ecorche and Nudes, early 1580s (Warsaw University Library), is presumed to have been drawn as the frontispiece for his book.
  • The first illustration was a colour frontispiece entitled ‘Chemical Industry, Upheld by Pure Science, Sustains the Production of Man's Necessities.’
  • The frontispiece to Hokusai's Illustrated Manual on Coloring of 1848 shows a fanatical painter holding five brushes in feet, hands, and mouth, all at work painting.
2 Architecture The principal face of a building.
Example sentences
  • The image shows a campus with lush green lawns, classical architecture and a brick frontispiece displaying a sign that reads ‘State College’.
  • It came with a frontispiece showing damage caused by fascist artillery to the Goya Foundation.
  • It was a low, flat building with arched windows and a central balcony and square frontispiece, with the post office occupying one wing.
2.1A decorated entrance.
Example sentences
  • The frontispieces for the first three parts of The New Foundling Hospital for Wit are catalogued, respectively, no.s 4244, 4200, and 4245.
2.2A pediment over a door or window.
Example sentences
  • In the lower half of the frontispiece, the Muses adorn the monument with attributes of their respective arts.


Late 16th century (sense 2): from French frontispice or late Latin frontispicium 'facade', from Latin frons, front- 'front' + specere 'to look'. The change in the ending (early in the word's history) was by association with piece.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: fron·tis·piece

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