volte face

volte-face

[volt-fahs, vohlt-; French vawltuh-fas]
noun, plural volte-face.
a turnabout, especially a reversal of opinion or policy.

Origin:
1810–20; < French < Italian voltafaccia, equivalent to volta turn (see volt2) + faccia face

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volte-face (ˈvɒltˈfɑːs)
 
n , pl volte-face
1.  a reversal, as in opinion or policy
2.  a change of position so as to look, lie, etc, in the opposite direction
 
[C19: from French, from Italian volta-faccia, from volta a turn + faccia face]

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Word Origin & History

volte-face
a reversal of opinion, 1819, from Fr., from It. volta faccia, lit. "turn face," from volta, imper. of voltare "to turn" (from V.L. *volvita, from L. volvere "to roll;" see vulva) + faccia (see face).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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