Definition of volte-face in English:

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Pronunciation: /vɒltˈfas/
Pronunciation: /vɒltˈfɑːs/


1An act of turning round so as to face in the opposite direction.
Example sentences
  • Then, off to my right around 10 metres, the shark bent, twisted and went volte-face on a sixpence, gathering speed as it cruised back toward me.
2An abrupt and complete reversal of attitude, opinion, or position: a remarkable volte-face on taxes
More example sentences
  • This position is a volte-face for Great Britain.
  • And this is one of the most striking aspects of this case: how it has forced the government into a volte-face over its public attitudes to doctors.
  • They must rank as two of the most remarkable volte-face of all time, two sides desperate to confound stereotypes which have been self-fulfilling and self-perpetuating for as long as any of us can remember.


Early 19th century: from French, from Italian voltafaccia, based on Latin volvere 'to roll' + facies 'appearance, face'.

Words that rhyme with volte-face

brass, carse, class, coup de grâce, farce, glass, grass, Grasse, impasse, Kars, kick-ass, kvass, Laplace, Maas, Madras, outclass, pass, sparse, stained glass, surpass, upper class

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: volte-face

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