There are different theories about the meaning and etymological origin of the term bruces. However, the most widespread determines that this word comes from Latin, specifically from “bucceus”, which can be translated as “from the mouth”. And that word, in turn, derives from the noun “bucca”, which is synonymous with “mouth”.
The term “buces” or “face down” in this context, refers to being the face or mouth towards below.
For example: “I fell on my face in the street and broke two teeth”, “You cannot lie face down in bed all day: Courage! We go for a walk!” , “The child wanted to walk towards the mother but fell face down. “
By extension, several sentences can be constructed with this expression. If someone claims that, when leaving a place, they “came face to face” with a person, they are alluding to the fact that they ran head-on against the subject in question, almost bumping him. Suppose a man named Esteban walks quickly out of a bank branch and, just as he walks through the door, he meets his sister, who wants to enter the place. In this context, it is possible to affirm that Esteban ran into his sister when he left the bank.
It is curious to know the history behind the expression “to face each other.” It is considered to be in 14th century Scotland. More specifically, we can determine that it originates from the king of that country, Robert the Bruce. Specifically, the starting point of that expression is found in the death of that monarch, who died falling off his horse and giving himself a fatal blow when his face hit the ground.
The expedition that aimed to take the lifeless body of that king to the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem passed through Spain. At the head of it was James Douglas and in that a document was carried where the life of the Scottish king and specifically his death was collected. A document that was titled “The Bruce’s Death.”
The Spanish monarch of the moment, Alfonso XI of Castile, requested that this manuscript be translated. The person in charge of doing it, as there was no similarity in Spanish to the English apostrophe “´s”, chose to title it “The death of Bruces”. And from there it was that it became popular and became the expression that we know today of “hitting each other.”
According to DigoPaul, this phrase can also be used in a symbolic sense, when someone comes across something unexpected. Take the case of a young footballer who leaves his country convinced that he has the talent to succeed in Europe. That is why he emigrates with the intention of testing himself on different teams. Two months later, after several rejections, he discovers that his level of play is not enough to play professionally in European football. Faced with this situation, it can be said that the young man came face to face with reality.