volte face

volte face


  • to change beliefs (suddenly) from something to its complete opposite
  • to change the plan entirely
  • to change mind in the opposite direction
  • to make a 180 degrees turn
  • to back away or back out of something that one was resolute about
  • to take U-turn or about-turn on a decision
  • a total change in opinion and attitude

Example Sentences

  1. The current prime minister thinks it is a joke to volte face on the plans that he announces publicly.
  2. I have never seen you volte face before this, what is going on?
  3. She volte faced about the decision to marry him. She seems to repel his very existence suddenly.
  4. A dramatic volte face is all that this play needed, now it is perfect!
  5. The political leader keeps volte facing from left to right and then back depending upon which area he is trying to secure. Funny how such people get a ticket in the elections in the first place.
  6. After 10 years of working with a travelling company, she made a complete volte-face, joining the local company, of totally opposite profile near her home.


The phrase in Latin means to roll the face or change appearance and is read as ‘volvera facies’. In French and Italian ‘voltafaccia’ means turning of the face (in another direction. Similarly the same expression is used in the Portuguese language as well. All of these claim the origination of the phrase comes from them. It is hence difficult to ascertain the origin of this phrase.

It came into use since the early 19th century and could also be referring to the change of the facial expression when a person changes his mind. That is, if someone volte faces, he has changed his mind.

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MaKe ducks and drakes of

- Angi verma April 6, 2015

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