verb \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


noun \di-ˈfī(-ə)l, ˈdē-ˌfī(-ə)l\

: a narrow passage through mountains

Full Definition of DEFILE

:  a narrow passage or gorge

Examples of DEFILE

  1. <the cattle, once they were cornered in the defile, were quickly rounded up>

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 \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


Next Word in the Dictionary: defilingly
Previous Word in the Dictionary: defilade
All Words Near: defile

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up defile? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Get Our Free Apps
Voice Search, Favorites,
Word of the Day, and More
Join Us on FB & Twitter
Get the Word of the Day and More