verb de·file \di-ˈfī(-ə)l, dē-\

Definition of DEFILE

transitive verb
:  to make unclean or impure: as
a :  to corrupt the purity or perfection of :  debase <the countryside defiled by billboards>
b :  to violate the chastity of :  deflower
c :  to make physically unclean especially with something unpleasant or contaminating <boots defiled with blood>
d :  to violate the sanctity of :  desecrate <defile a sanctuary>
e :  sully, dishonor
de·file·ment \-ˈfī(-ə)l-mənt\ noun
de·fil·er \-ˈfī-lər\ noun

Origin of DEFILE

Middle English, alteration (influenced by filen to defile, from Old English fȳlan) of defoilen to trample, defile, from Anglo-French defoiller, defuler, to trample, from de- + fuller, foller to trample, literally, to full — more at full
First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of DEFILE

contaminate, taint, pollute, defile mean to make impure or unclean. contaminate implies intrusion of or contact with dirt or foulness from an outside source <water contaminated by industrial wastes>. taint stresses the loss of purity or cleanliness that follows contamination <tainted meat> <a politician's tainted reputation>. pollute, sometimes interchangeable with contaminate, distinctively may imply that the process which begins with contamination is complete and that what was pure or clean has been made foul, poisoned, or filthy <the polluted waters of the river>. defile implies befouling of what could or should have been kept clean and pure or held sacred and commonly suggests violation or desecration <defile a hero's memory with slanderous innuendo>.


noun de·file \di-ˈfī(-ə)l, ˈdē-ˌfī(-ə)l\

: a narrow passage through mountains

Full Definition of DEFILE

:  a narrow passage or gorge

Origin of DEFILE

French défilé, from past participle of défiler
First Known Use: 1685

Related to DEFILE

col, couloir, canyon, flume, gap, gill [British], gorge, gulch, gulf, kloof [South African], linn [chiefly Scottish], notch, pass, ravine, saddle


verb de·file \di-ˈfī(-ə)l, ˈdē-ˌfī(-ə)l\

Definition of DEFILE

intransitive verb
:  to march off in a line

Origin of DEFILE

French défiler, from dé- de- + filer to move in a column — more at file
First Known Use: 1705


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