English Idiom – Face the music.

Meaning – To accept responsibility for something you have done. To accept the consequences or criticism for your actions. If you face the music you are confronted with the consequences of your negative action(s).

Origins Of This Idiom:

One theory is that it comes from the theater, specifically from the practice of forcing a performer who had received bad reviews to face the orchestra pit (where the musicians played) and receive the audience’s reaction. This would have been a humiliating experience for the performer, but it was seen as necessary to maintain the integrity of the performance.

Another theory suggests that the expression may have come from the military, where a soldier who had committed an offense would be forced to stand in front of a drum and receive a public flogging as punishment. The drumming was thought to represent the “music” that the soldier had to face.

More on Music:


When could you use this idiom?

  • You are meeting your boss after making a costly mistake at work.
  • Somebody has to stand in front of a person they have wronged and apologise.
  • You have not completed your homework and your teacher is punishing you.


  • “We can’t hide here forever. We’ll have to go home and face the music for smashing the window!”

In The News:

North Korea says South ‘has to face the music’ as it readies ‘retaliatory punishment’


  • Is there an idiom like this in your country?

What is an idiom?

An idiom is a word or phrase that is not taken literally.  An idiom is an expression that cannot be understood from the meanings of its individual words, but has a separate meaning of its own.

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