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


trash, vandalize

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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 clashes didn’t produce the level of violence that erupted last weekend, when protesters defaced the Arc de Triomphe and rioted across some of the city’s most upscale neighborhoods. Stacy Meichtry, WSJ, "Protests Threaten Macron’s Campaign to Remake France," 9 Dec. 2018 The couple became temporarily disaffected from the church after the pastor admonished the children about defacing property without mentioning the implications of the epithet. Sam Roberts, New York Times, "Jean Gump, Tireless Fighter for Social Justice, Dies at 90," 26 Apr. 2018 Back in 2016, before Trump was elected, the star was defaced by a vandal who scratched off his name and a TV icon. Adam Shaw, Fox News, "Anti-Trump vandalism sweeps country: Yacht, Hollywood star latest targets," 9 Aug. 2018 Three people face misdemeanor charges of rioting and defacing a public monument. Kathleen Joyce, Fox News, "Texts show police told to ‘not engage’ with 'Silent Sam' protesters: report," 30 Aug. 2018 Maya Little, who defaced a Confederate soldier statue in May on the University of North Carolina’s campus, said. Christopher Carbone, Fox News, "Confederate monuments: This 124-year-old women's group is fighting to keep them around," 12 Aug. 2018 It was meant as an act of defiance, according to Fred Whitehead, a local historian who had the displeasure of discovering the statue defaced on Sunday. kansascity, "Vandals may have defaced John Brown statue, but they can’t scar Quindaro’s significance," 19 Mar. 2018 In October, a Hawaii man reportedly was charged with criminal mischief for defacing four golf courses owned by the Trump Organization, by allegedly carving messages into the greens. Adam Shaw, Fox News, "Anti-Trump vandalism sweeps country: Yacht, Hollywood star latest targets," 9 Aug. 2018 The Texas statute prohibits anyone from stealing, defacing or destroying any campaign sign on private property. Fox News, "Protester filmed screaming 'I hate Ted Cruz,' tearing up signs in Houston neighborhood," 18 Oct. 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

23 Apr 2019

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 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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with deface

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for deface

Spanish Central: Translation of deface

Nglish: Translation of deface for Spanish Speakers

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