1300-50;Middle Englishafrounten < Middle Frenchaf(f)ronter to strike in the face < Vulgar Latin*affrontāre, derivative of Latin phrase ad frontem at or toward the forehead (as the seat of one's feelings or dignity). See ad-, front
early 14c., from O.Fr. afronter "to face, confront," lit. "to strike on the forehead," from L.L. affrontare "to strike against," from L. ad frontem "to the face," from frons (gen. frontis) "forehead." The noun is c.1600, from the verb.