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According to Oxford Dictionaries, "lose face" means:

Be humiliated or come to be less highly respected

And esteem, honour, and respect were given as synonyms. They seem contradictory to me if not outright opposite.

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The synonyms given are for 'face', in the expression 'lose face'. If you lose it, you lose those things.

Definition of lose face in English:

lose face

PHRASE

Be humiliated or come to be less highly respected.

‘the code of conduct required that he strike back or lose face’

Synonyms

respect, honour, esteem, regard, admiration, approbation, acclaim, approval, favour, appreciation, popularity, estimation, veneration, awe, reverence, deference, recognition, prestige, standing, status, dignity, glory, kudos, cachet, image

Lose face (Oxford)

  • But then, is the word "face" synonymous with all those things? – user81138 Mar 2 at 13:14
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    @VishalGhulati: just as words sometimes have many meanings, they will have different synonyms for different meanings. Also, synonyms are not always identical in meaning, but merely close. I remember when I first got a word processor with a thesaurus built-in, I used to have fun "thesaurus surfing", seeing how far I could get from the original meaning of a word in context. – SamBC Mar 2 at 14:06
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    Vishal Ghulati - those words are synoyms for 'face' in the expression 'lose face'. 'Face' has more than one meaning. – Michael Harvey Mar 2 at 14:11

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