de·​face | \di-ˈfās, dē-\

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 \ -​ˈfās-​mənt \ noun
defacer noun

Examples of deface in a Sentence

The building was defaced with graffiti. He was fined for defacing public property.

Recent Examples on the Web

And Lizzie Clachan’s sterile white set, which will be thoroughly defaced by the end, and David McSeveney’s dissonant sound design, which finds the ominous in everyday noises, suggest that Eric’s mind is a terrible place to live. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Review: Stephen Rea Is One Really Mad Man in ‘Cyprus Avenue’," 25 June 2018 The cemetery is nondenominational, and there did not appear to be a pattern to which gravestones were defaced, Brunette said. Washington Post, "Subtropical storm threatens Gulf Coast," 29 May 2018 Property damage Red spray paint was used to deface flower pots, light fixtures windows and siding on a house and garage in the 900 block of Pine Street, it was reported on July 2. Brian Cox,, "Police blotter: Flower pots, light fixtures in Winnetka damaged with spray paint," 12 July 2018 Once in 2015, it was mistakenly defaced by workers putting in utility lines. Susan Dunne,, "The Sculptures Outside The Wadsworth, Explained," 9 July 2018 However, some supporters were quick to take offense to the sentiment, even offering money to people who deface the mural. Nihal Kolur,, "LeBron James 'King of LA' Mural Vandalized After Fan Offers $300 to Alter it," 8 July 2018 For suspected infractions such as defacing property or urinating in public, a person must be cited on at least three occasions within 90 days to be banned. Ted Andersen,, "Two-thirds of people banned from BART are black — and agency isn’t asking why," 6 July 2018 In October 2016, AlfabetoVirtual claimed responsibility for defacing a website for the Combating Terrorism Center, an academic center at the United States Military Academy in West Point, N.Y. New York Times, "Man Who Hacked West Point and Government Websites Is Charged," 10 May 2018 One parent sent the district a link to a photo related to a Town Hall for Our LIves event that included photos of U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio defaced with markers, district spokeswoman Amity Schuyler said. Scott Travis,, "Palm Beach school district abruptly cancels school security forum," 4 May 2018

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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Statistics for deface

Last Updated

12 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for deface

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

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More Definitions for deface



English Language Learners Definition of deface

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


de·​face | \di-ˈfās \
defaced; defacing

Kids Definition of deface

: to damage the face or surface of Vandals defaced the statue.

de·​face | \di-ˈfās \
defaced; defacing

Legal Definition of deface 

: to destroy or mar the face or surface of

Other Words from deface

defacement noun
defacer noun

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Comments on deface

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


to express warning or disapproval

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