It was the confrontal of God, face to face, as in moments of great danger, or in solemn and sudden death.
1560s, "to stand in front of," from Middle French confronter (15c.), from Medieval Latin confrontare "assign limits, adjoin," from Latin com- "together" (see com-) + frontem (nominative frons) "forehead" (see front (n.)). Sense of "to face in defiance or hostility" is late 16c. Related: Confronted; confronting.