Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An illustration that faces or immediately precedes the title page of a book, book section, or magazine.
  • n. Architecture A façade, especially an ornamental façade.
  • n. Architecture A small ornamental pediment, as on top of a door or window.
  • n. Archaic A title page.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An illustration that is on the page before the title page of a book, a section of one, or a magazine.
  • n. The title page of a book.
  • n. A façade, especially an ornamental one.
  • n. A small pediment of which is ornamental, especially on the top of a window or door.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The principal front of a building.
  • n. An ornamental figure or illustration fronting the first page, or titlepage, of a book; formerly, the titlepage itself.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To furnish with a frontispiece.
  • To use as a frontispiece: as, to frontispiece a map.
  • n. That which is seen in front, or which directly presents itself to the eye.
  • n. A print or engraving placed in front of the title of a book.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. front illustration facing the title page of a book
  • n. an ornamental facade

Etymologies

Alteration (influenced by piece) of French frontispice, from Late Latin frontispicium, façade of a building : Latin frontis, genitive of frōns, forehead, front + Latin specere, to look at.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
By folk etymology, from French frontispice, from Latin frontispicium, from frons (forehead) + specere (look at). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Blair's The Grave, "The Reunion of the Soul & the Body" and "The Soul hovering over the Body reluctantly parting with Life" (56-58), but does not reproduce or specifically discuss "Death's Door," and includes nine facsimiles: the frontispiece is a reduction of

    Notes on ''Points of Contact': Blake and Whitman'

  • At the sale of the original drawings executed by 'Phiz' for _Martin Chuzzlewit_ this frontispiece, which is an epitome of the salient characters and scenes in the novel, was sold for £35.

    Charles Dickens and Music

  • The portrait of Signorelli in the frontispiece is the half of this painting.

    Luca Signorelli

  • My copy has two titles, the first being an engraved one, with ten small circles round it, containing hieroglyphical figures, and an engraved frontispiece, which is repeated in the volume, with some other cuts.

    Notes and Queries, Number 56, November 23, 1850

  • The frontispiece is a coarsely executed wood cut, divided into six compartments, and representing the six days of the creation.

    The Symbolism of Freemasonry

  • The frontispiece was a coloured picture of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden surrounded by amiable lions, benevolent tigers, ingratiating bears and leopards and wolves.

    The Altar Steps

  • The frontispiece is a picture of the author, the Rev.C. R. Dawson, Cumberland, Md., and Rev. Gustave H. Caution, assistant to us, by the appointment of his Bishop.

    History of the Afro-American Group of the Episcopal Church

  • The frontispiece was a photograph of Captain Jim himself, standing at the door of the lighthouse, looking across the gulf.

    Anne's House of Dreams

  • Bibliography of his works, of which the frontispiece is a portrait of

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 11: New Mexico-Philip

  • 'Phiz' for Martin Chuzzlewit this frontispiece, which is an epitome of the salient characters and scenes in the novel, was sold for L35.

    Charles Dickens and Music

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