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 The night Paul defaces the window, Vincent meets the hotel’s owner, Jonathan Alkaitis—an obscenely rich financier, recently widowed—and the once rebellious teenager slips into a new life with him almost as easily as putting on a new pair of shoes. Ruth Franklin, The Atlantic, "The Art of Second Chances," 16 Mar. 2020 Finally, the Viennese artist Philip Mueller at Carbon 12 (Booth P24, Pier 94) is showing 60 paintings of characters at a fictional Mediterranean island resort — wildly tattooed and occasionally defaced. Martha Schwendener, New York Times, "The Armory Show: Playing It Safe During an Unsettled Time," 5 Mar. 2020 But today’s local authorities found intolerable the image of old Jewish graves in contemporary France being defaced with the Nazi symbol. Adam Nossiter, New York Times, "Jewish Cemeteries Are Threatened. These People Are Guarding Them.," 5 Mar. 2020 The onslaught took down or defaced thousands of websites, and even disrupted the broadcasts of two television stations. Andy Greenberg, Wired, "The US Blames Russia's GRU for Sweeping Cyberattacks in Georgia," 20 Feb. 2020 Vandals have defaced at least seven campaign offices for 2020 Democrat Michael Bloomberg over the past two weeks. Tim Pearce, Washington Examiner, "Bloomberg campaign calls on Bernie Sanders to denounce vandalism spree targeting offices," 24 Feb. 2020 Already, pro-Iranian hackers have defaced several U.S. websites to protest the killing of General Qassem Soleimani. Dorothy Denning, The Conversation, "How Iran’s military outsources its cyberthreat forces," 22 Jan. 2020 In recent days, hackers have defaced government websites and pursued divisive disinformation campaigns on social media. Nicole Perlroth,, "Iran’s military response may be ‘concluded’ but cyberwarfare threat grows," 8 Jan. 2020 In Westhoffen’s cemetery, 107 tombstones were defaced; in the one in Quatzenheim, a village to the east, 96 were. Adam Nossiter, New York Times, "Jewish Cemeteries Are Threatened. These People Are Guarding Them.," 5 Mar. 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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for deface

Last Updated

27 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Deface.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 May. 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on deface

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for deface

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with deface

Spanish Central: Translation of deface

Nglish: Translation of deface for Spanish Speakers

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