in your face


Senior Member
From VOA:

Matthew Rojansky with the Wilson Center said the pro-Russian authorities in Crimea would not have held the referendum if they didn’t have a high confidence in the outcome.
“My sense is this was a product of the times in which there has been a real build-up of fear mongering and the overt pressure of armed men - there is nothing quite like a gun in your face.”

What's the meaning of "in your face" here? Did he want to express there are armed men holding a gun to your face? why did he use the preposition "in"? I would prefer "on" or "to". What's your opinion?

Thank you in advance. :)
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  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    There's a certain logic for bodily parts: your nose is on your face, but your eyes and mouth are in your face. Not so much logic outside that: you hold a gun to someone's head. 'In your face' normally means very close up, as when one person angrily confronts another by getting close; from that, it comes to mean "aggressive" or "bold" or "very obvious, hard to avoid", and that's how the gun is being presented in your sentence.