At Face Value (to take something)

Meaning of Idiom ‘Take Something at Face Value’

To take something at face value means to accept it as true based on its outward appearance, without asking questions or giving it further consideration.

Examples Of Use

“I wouldn’t take the reports at face value. If you want to know the truth you’ll have to go see for yourself.”

“The prosecutor decided to take the claims of the witness at face value.”

“Doug might seem like he wants to help, but don’t take his nice guy routine at face value.”


The term face value has been used literally since the 1870’s to refer to the monetary value printed on a bank note, stock certificate, bond, ticket, etc. These items may often sell at prices that are higher than their face value. If once was sold for the amount of money printed on its face, it would be sold at face value. It has been used figuratively since the late 1800’s.

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