de·​face | \ di-ˈfās How to pronounce deface (audio) , dē- \
defaced; defacing; defaces

Definition of deface

transitive verb

1 : to mar the appearance of : injure by effacing significant details deface an inscription
2 : impair
3 obsolete : destroy

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Other Words from deface

defacement \ di-​ˈfās-​mənt How to pronounce defacement (audio) , dē-​ \ noun
defacer noun

Synonyms for deface


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Examples of deface in a Sentence

The building was defaced with graffiti. He was fined for defacing public property.
Recent Examples on the Web Somebody has the right to destroy it, deface it, and tear it down? Marisa Schultz, Fox News, "Tennessee Dem lawmaker decries response to riots in viral speech: 'What we see is not peaceful'," 28 Aug. 2020 Some have gone so far as to deface paintings and tear down murals and signs. Daniel Oyefusi,, "Investigation launched after park ranger removes, damages Black Lives Matter murals in Patterson Park," 2 Aug. 2020 The federal surge to Portland comes as Trump has promised a strong response to protesters who deface monuments and other property. Tim Elfrink, Washington Post, "Federal officers severely wounded a Portland protester. Local leaders blame Trump.," 13 July 2020 Those who would deface or destroy these statues or other remembrances of these men are criminals. Paul Bedard, Washington Examiner, "Hell no! Top conservatives fight ‘ignorant mob’ erasing American history, police, and flag," 9 July 2020 Martinez, California, police are looking for two White people who took it upon themselves to deface a Black Lives Matter mural mere minutes after the slogan had been painted on the street on July 4 as part of community celebrations. Breanna Edwards, Essence, "Police Looking For 2 White People Who Vandalized California Black Lives Matter Street Mural," 6 July 2020 Democrats say federal authorities should not intervene when crowds of protesters deface and destroy monuments. Kerry Picket, Washington Examiner, "Three House Democrats say federal authorities should not interfere with mobs pulling down statues," 25 June 2020 Sports radio personalities sprung into action to defend the poor statue, unable to defend itself, and fans rallied behind them, decrying the likelihood that any real Pittsburgher would ever deface Lemieux. Casey Taylor, The New Republic, "Nihilism and White Bliss in America’s Most Livable City," 5 June 2020 In Philadelphia, protesters attempted to burn, hammer and tip the sculpture in an effort to deface and destroy it. Khrysgiana Pineda, USA TODAY, "Controversial statue of former Philadelphia mayor Frank Rizzo removed after George Floyd protests," 3 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'deface.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of deface

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for deface

Middle English, from Anglo-French *desfacer, *deffacer, from des- de- + face front, face

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Time Traveler for deface

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The first known use of deface was in the 14th century

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Statistics for deface

Last Updated

10 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Deface.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for deface


How to pronounce deface (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of deface

: to ruin the surface of (something) especially with writing or pictures


de·​face | \ di-ˈfās How to pronounce deface (audio) \
defaced; defacing

Kids Definition of deface

: to damage the face or surface of Vandals defaced the statue.
de·​face | \ di-ˈfās How to pronounce deface (audio) \
defaced; defacing

Legal Definition of deface

: to destroy or mar the face or surface of

Other Words from deface

defacement noun
defacer noun

More from Merriam-Webster on deface

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for deface

Nglish: Translation of deface for Spanish Speakers

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