Face Card – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Are you looking for a word or term that describes someone with stunning beauty, great makeup or incredible and striking features? Maybe you should use the term 'face card' to let them know what you think about their selfie or snapshot. This post unpacks the meaning and origin of this expression.


The term 'face card' is a new, alternate meaning of an existing term. It is said to mean someone who is extremely beautiful or attractive.

When someone is referred to as a 'face card' then it can be said that they, or something about them, is considered to be aesthetically pleasing or striking.

Sometimes, the term 'face card' is used together with expressions that have to do with cards.

One possible common usage of the term in a sentence is to say: “Wow, their face card was certainly not declined!” The meaning of this is the same thing as to say that someone is attractive, or is a 'face card'.

When the term appears on websites about card games, the meaning often changes to refer to only specific, high-ranked cards in a card deck: the Kings, Queens, and Jacks are all referred to as face cards.

Example Usage

“Have you seen the new physical education teacher? I don't want to speak out of turn, but if I may say so myself, she's a real face card.”

“If you don't have enough money to pay for your coffee at Starbucks, why don't you just ask that cute guy for a drink? You know, swipe your face card or something.”

“I don't know what kind of person I'm going to marry, but I hope they're at least a face card, or close to at least a seven. I don't know how I would feel about dating a six.”

“Have you seen the Team America puppet of Matt Damon? It didn't look too good when they finished it, so it's no face card for sure.”


The use of the term 'face card' has been in popular use within tabletop, trading-card and playing card circles for hundreds of years. The original meaning of the word 'face card' is to refer to specific cards in the deck with a higher rank, and a literal 'face'.

Alternate meanings to the term 'face card' would first appear in mainstream rap music in the early-2000s, though common alternate use might have happened even earlier than this.

Urban Dictionary entries from 2003 still attribute a different meaning to the word, where it is said to mean a hundred dollar bill. Urban Dictionary entries up until the year 2019 still list older, alternative meanings of the term 'face card'.

The use of the term 'face card' to mean stunning or attractive is likely only after 2021. One of the earliest entries for this meaning of 'face card' appeared on November 22, 2021 on the website Urban Dictionary.

The alternative meaning of the term 'face card' to mean attractive or beautiful has also been absorbed into popular rap terms. It also on other websites like Rap Dictionary, where it was listed in the year 2022.

Phrases Similar to Face Card

  • Hot
  • Attractive
  • Beautiful

Phrases Opposite to Face Card

  • Vain
  • Grotesque
  • Weird-looking

What is the Correct Saying?

  • Face Card
  • face card

Ways People May Say Face Card Incorrectly

There are several incorrect ways to use the term 'face card'.

The term is not generally abbreviated, and the term 'FC' is still used as short for Football Club.

The term is not generally used in plural form, unless it describes a group or several people.

The term is never used as a verb, which it is not. Someone can't go out at night to 'face card' at a club, for example.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Face Card

The correct way to use the term 'face card' is as a term that describes someone who is striking, stunningly beautiful or very attractive.

The term has no specific gender, but can refer to anyone of any gender who has striking features or interesting dress.

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