[fruhn-tis-pees, fron-]
an illustrated leaf preceding the title page of a book.
Architecture. a façade, or a part or feature of a façade, often highlighted by ornamentation.

1590–1600; alteration (conformed to piece) of earlier frontispice < French < Medieval Latin frontispicium, equivalent to Latin fronti- front + -spicium (combining form representing specere to look at) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
frontispiece (ˈfrʌntɪsˌpiːs)
1.  an illustration facing the title page of a book
2.  the principal façade of a building; front
3.  a pediment, esp an ornamented one, over a door, window, etc
[C16 frontispice, from French, from Late Latin frontispicium façade, inspection of the forehead, from Latin frōns forehead + specere to look at; influenced by piece]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

1597, "decorated entrance of a building," from M.Fr. frontispice, probably from It. frontespizio and L.L. frontispicium "facade," originally "a view of the forehead, judgment of character through facial features," from L. frons (gen. frontis) "forehead" + specere "to look at" (see
scope (1)). Sense of "illustration facing a book's title page" first recorded 1682.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
He used an engraving of himself in laborer's clothes as the frontispiece.
They are of wood, but the remainder of the niche and frontispiece are of plaster.
Several seventeenth-century editions of her works used engravings based on this painting as a frontispiece.
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