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

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 Marbury was arrested in Ashland in January 2017 for allegedly defacing private property with anti-Semitic posters. Andrew Theen,, "OSU graduate student stopped on UO campus in 2017 with white supremacist flyers," 26 Jan. 2018 The San Antonio Police Department and the National Park Service identified the three as suspects after authorities released video June 22 showing vandals using spray paint to deface the historic church. Jacob Beltran, San Antonio Express-News, "Trio accused of vandalism at missions face federal charge," 11 July 2018 Without the protections of a museum or gallery, the works are prone to damage, and a race to save, alter or deface the Paris murals has already begun. Annalisa Quinn, New York Times, "In Paris, Banksy Spreads a Trail of Graffiti, and Rumors," 26 June 2018 After a friend informed her that someone defaced her father, Michael Jackson's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the activist got on her hands and knees to clean up the mess. Rania Aniftos, Billboard, "Paris Jackson Cleans Graffiti Off Dad Michael Jackson's Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame," 13 June 2018 Friday's attack is not the first time the picture has been defaced. Deutsche Welle, USA TODAY, "Russian officials urge harshest sentence for man who damaged priceless Ivan the Terrible painting," 29 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

17 Sep 2018

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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).


alleviating pain or harshness

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