In hardware and metalworking, bar- or rod-shaped tool of hardened steel with many small cutting edges raised on its surfaces. Files are used for smoothing or forming objects, especially of metal. A file's cutting or abrading action results from rubbing it, usually by hand, against the workpiece. The single-cut file has rows of parallel teeth cut diagonally across the working surfaces. The double-cut file has rows of teeth crossing each other. Rasp teeth are disconnected and round on top; rasp files are usually very coarse and are used primarily on wood and soft materials.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on file, visit

Seen & Heard

What made you look up file? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.