Etymology
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face-off (n.)

also faceoff, 1886 in sports (hockey, etc., originally lacrosse), from verbal phrase in a sports sense, attested from 1867 (see face (v.) + off (adv.)); the off perhaps is based on stand-off or similar constructions.

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Definitions of face-off

face-off (n.)
a hostile disagreement face-to-face;
face-off (n.)
(ice hockey) the method of starting play; a referee drops the puck between two opposing players;
From wordnet.princeton.edu