Etymology
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blaze (n.2)
1630s, "light-colored mark or spot" on the face of a horse, cow, etc., northern English dialect, probably from Old Norse blesi "white spot on a horse's face," from Proto-Germanic *blas- "shining, white," from the same root as blaze (n.1). Middle Dutch or Low German cognates of the Norse word also have been suggested as the source. Applied 1660s in American English to marks cut on tree trunks to indicate a track; thus the verb meaning "to mark a trail" (1750). Related: Blazed; blazing.
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rut (n.1)

"narrow track worn or cut in the ground," as by a passing wheeled vehicle, 1570s, probably from Middle English route "way, a road, space for passage" (see route (n.)); though OED finds this "improbable." If so, it is a doublet of route.

Of the lines on the face by 1620s. The figurative meaning "narrow, monotonous routine; habitual mode of behavior or procedure" is attested by 1839 (Carlyle); earlier figurative use was as an obstacle to rapid transit (1705).

Enter an OLD LADY.
[Bosola] You come from painting now.
Old Lady. From what?
Bos. Why, from your scurvy face-physic.
To behold thee not painted, inclines somewhat near
A miracle: these in thy face here, were deep ruts,
And foul sloughs, the last progress.
There was a lady in France, that having the small-pox,
Flay'd the skin off her face, to make it more level;
And whereas before she looked like a nutmeg-grater,
After she resembled an abortive hedgehog.
[Webster, "The Duchess of Malfi"]

The verb meaning "mark with or as with ruts" is by c. 1600. Related: Rutted; rutting.

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blush (n.)
mid-14c., "a look, a glance" (sense preserved in at first blush "at first glance"), also "a gleam, a gleaming" (late 14c.), from blush (v.). As "a reddening of the face" from 1590s. Meaning "a rosy color" is also from 1590s.
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snaffle (n.)
"simple bridle-bit," 1530s, of uncertain origin, perhaps from or related to Dutch snavel "beak, bill;" compare German Schnabel "beak, face," Old English nebb, Old Norse neff "beak, nose" (see neb).
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octahedron (n.)

"a solid figure bounded by eight plane faces," 1560s, from Greek oktahedron, neuter of oktahedros "eight-sided," from okta- "eight" (see octa-) + hedra "a seat; face of a geometrical solid," from PIE root *sed- (1) "to sit." Related: Octahedral.

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prostrate (v.)

early 15c., prostraten, "prostrate oneself, fall down flat, bow with the face to the ground" (in humility or submission), from prostrate (adj.). Transitive sense of "throw down, lay flat, overthrow" is by 1560s. Related: Prostrated; prostrating.

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cheer (n.)

c. 1200, "the face, countenance," especially as expressing emotion, from Anglo-French chere "the face," Old French chiere "face, countenance, look, expression," from Late Latin cara "face" (source also of Spanish cara), possibly from Greek kara "head," from PIE root *ker- (1) "horn; head." From mid-13c. as "frame of mind, state of feeling, spirit; mood, humor."


By late 14c. the meaning had extended metaphorically to "state or temper of mind as indicated by expression." This could be in a good or bad sense ("The feend ... beguiled her with treacherye, and brought her into a dreerye cheere," "Merline," c. 1500), but a positive sense, "state of gladness or joy" (probably short for good cheer), has predominated since c. 1400.

Meaning "that which makes cheerful or promotes good spirits" is from late 14c. Meaning "shout of encouragement" is first recorded 1720, perhaps nautical slang (compare earlier verbal sense, "to encourage by words or deeds," early 15c.). The antique English greeting what cheer? (mid-15c.) was picked up by Algonquian Indians of southern New England from the Puritans and spread in Indian languages as far as Canada.

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zygoma (n.)
"bony arch of the cheek," plural zygomata, 1680s, Modern Latin, from Greek zygoma, from zygon "yoke" (from PIE root *yeug- "to join"). So called because it connects the bones of the face with those of the skull about the ear.
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showdown (n.)

also show-down, 1873 in card-playing (especially poker) a slang term for the act of laying down the hands face-up, from show (v.) + down (adv.). Figurative sense of "final confrontation" is by 1904.

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grovel (v.)
1590s, Shakespearean back-formation from groveling "on the face, prostrate" (mid-14c.), also used in Middle English as an adjective but probably really an adverb, from gruffe, from Old Norse grufe "prone" + obsolete adverbial suffix -ling (which survives also as the -long in headlong, sidelong). The Old Norse word is found in liggja à grufu "lie face-down," literally "lie on proneness." Old Norse also had grufla "to grovel," grufa "to grovel, cower, crouch down." The whole group is perhaps related to creep (v.). Related: Groveled; grovelled; groveling; grovelling.
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