defile

verb (1)
de·​file | \di-ˈfī(-ə)l, dē-\
defiled; defiling

Definition of defile 

(Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

: to make unclean or impure: such as

a : to corrupt the purity or perfection of : debase the countryside defiled by billboards

b : to violate the chastity or virginity of : deflower

c : to make physically unclean especially with something unpleasant or contaminating boots defiled with blood … I had never allowed anyone to smoke in the truck. Drunk as I was, I knew that I was betraying something by allowing him to defile the truck's interior.— Patrick Moore

d : to violate the sanctity of : desecrate defile a sanctuary went to jail for costuming themselves in the American flag and thus defiling it— James R. Gaines

e : sully, dishonor defile his reputation

defile

noun
de·​file | \di-ˈfī(-ə)l, ˈdē-ˌfī(-ə)l \

Definition of defile (Entry 2 of 3)

geology

: a narrow passage (as between hills, rocks, or cliffs) : gorge entry 1 … come to us from a narrow defile in the Pennine Alps between Switzerland and Italy, a place called the Great St. Bernard Pass.— Michael Olmert

defile

verb (2)
de·​file | \di-ˈfī(-ə)l, ˈdē-ˌfī(-ə)l \
defiled; defiling

Definition of defile (Entry 3 of 3)

intransitive verb

military

: to march off in a line … breaks out into a brave and glorious descripion of the forces, as they defiled through the principal gate of the city …— Washington Irving

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Other Words from defile

Verb (1)

defilement \-​ˈfī(-​ə)l-​mənt \ noun
defiler \-​ˈfī-​lər \ noun

Synonyms for defile

Synonyms: Noun

canyon (also cañon), col, couloir, flume, gap, gill [British], gorge, gulch, gulf, kloof [South African], linn [chiefly Scottish], notch, pass, ravine, saddle

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Choose the Right Synonym for defile

Verb (1)

contaminate, taint, pollute, defile mean to make impure or unclean. contaminate implies intrusion of or contact with dirt or foulness from an outside source. water contaminated by industrial wastes taint stresses the loss of purity or cleanliness that follows contamination. tainted meat a politician's tainted reputation pollute, sometimes interchangeable with contaminate, distinctively may imply that the process which begins with contamination is complete and that what was pure or clean has been made foul, poisoned, or filthy. the polluted waters of the river defile implies befouling of what could or should have been kept clean and pure or held sacred and commonly suggests violation or desecration. defile a hero's memory with slanderous innuendo

Examples of defile in a Sentence

Noun

the cattle, once they were cornered in the defile, were quickly rounded up

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Allegiances shift and high jinks ensue as our cursing, sword-swinging protagonist gets incarcerated, blown up, shot, stabbed, defiled and maimed in order to do the right thing. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, "Review: Delightfully wacky 'Deadpool 2' raises the superhero bar from hit original," 14 May 2018 As one of the most popular game reserves in the country, Sibuya is unfortunately familiar with poachers and their efforts to kill and defile rare animals. Kelli Bender, PEOPLE.com, "Pride of Lions Reportedly Attacks, Eats Rhino Poachers Trespassing on South African Reserve," 5 July 2018 On Monday, 20-year-old Ernesto Esquivel-Garcia was arrested for murder, arson and defiling a corpse, according to jail records in San Antonio, Texas. Matthew Martinez, star-telegram, "Missing man's body found charred in Texas apartment — and cryptic images on his car," 21 June 2018 To plow it over is to defile the type of humanistic giving that has become scarce in our increasingly billionaires-take-all way of American life. Maria Panaritis, Philly.com, "The Haas family gave Stoneleigh gardens to the public. Lower Merion Schools should keep their hands off of it. | Maria Panaritis," 2 June 2018 Ghost nets entangling turtles, plastic bags defiling corals, and straws in the guts of fish existed in a different world. Jenni Marsh, CNN, "Our children's plastic lives seen through lunches," 7 June 2018 Besides homicide, he also was found guilty of rape and of defiling corpses. Chris Buckley, New York Times, "‘Vicious’ Killer of 11 Women Gets Death Penalty in China," 30 Mar. 2018 As Charlier and his co-authors wrote in their paper last week, Hitler had demanded in his will that the Soviet forces about to overrun Berlin not be allowed to defile his corpse. Avi Selk, Washington Post, "Scientists say Hitler died in WWII. Tell that to ‘Adolf Schuttelmayor’ and the Nazi moon base.," 20 May 2018 But the tragedy most deeply impacted the LGBTQ+ community, who felt that one of their beloved safe spaces had been defiled, and who felt further targeted and alienated in their country. Claudia Connors, Seventeen, "I Lost Hope After the Pulse Shooting, But The March for Our Lives Renewed It," 26 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The path traces a gentle stream into a narrow defile framed by soaring cliffs. Roger Naylor, azcentral, "10 best hikes in Arizona show off state's diverse scenery," 13 July 2018 Harrison is facing charges of abduction with intent to defile, and use of a firearm in the commission of abduction. Breanna Edwards, The Root, "12-Year-Old Va. Boy Jumps Out of Car Moving 60 MPH to Escape Armed Abductor," 24 Oct. 2017 Those include murder in the commission of a rape and murder during an abduction with intent to defile. CBS News, "Muslim teen slain walking to Virginia mosque was also raped: indictment," 17 Oct. 2017 And just above that, the Louis Vuitton clock punctured the darkness like a moon in the night and the FW 2013 Train defile was the first thing that came to mind. Nausheen Shah, Marie Claire, "Paris Fashion Week S/S 2014: Louis Vuitton," 3 Oct. 2013

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Included in the definition of criminal trespass is the defacing, mutilating or defiling any grave marker, monument, or memorial to one or more deceased persons who served in the military service. Fox News, "Video from 2011 creates headaches for Sinema," 12 Oct. 2018 Besides homicide, he also was found guilty of rape and of defiling corpses. Chris Buckley, New York Times, "‘Vicious’ Killer of 11 Women Gets Death Penalty in China," 30 Mar. 2018 As one of the most popular game reserves in the country, Sibuya is unfortunately familiar with poachers and their efforts to kill and defile rare animals. Kelli Bender, PEOPLE.com, "Pride of Lions Reportedly Attacks, Eats Rhino Poachers Trespassing on South African Reserve," 5 July 2018 On Monday, 20-year-old Ernesto Esquivel-Garcia was arrested for murder, arson and defiling a corpse, according to jail records in San Antonio, Texas. Matthew Martinez, star-telegram, "Missing man's body found charred in Texas apartment — and cryptic images on his car," 21 June 2018 Ghost nets entangling turtles, plastic bags defiling corals, and straws in the guts of fish existed in a different world. Jenni Marsh, CNN, "Our children's plastic lives seen through lunches," 7 June 2018 To plow it over is to defile the type of humanistic giving that has become scarce in our increasingly billionaires-take-all way of American life. Maria Panaritis, Philly.com, "The Haas family gave Stoneleigh gardens to the public. Lower Merion Schools should keep their hands off of it. | Maria Panaritis," 2 June 2018 As Charlier and his co-authors wrote in their paper last week, Hitler had demanded in his will that the Soviet forces about to overrun Berlin not be allowed to defile his corpse. Avi Selk, Washington Post, "Scientists say Hitler died in WWII. Tell that to ‘Adolf Schuttelmayor’ and the Nazi moon base.," 20 May 2018 Allegiances shift and high jinks ensue as our cursing, sword-swinging protagonist gets incarcerated, blown up, shot, stabbed, defiled and maimed in order to do the right thing. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, "Review: Delightfully wacky 'Deadpool 2' raises the superhero bar from hit original," 14 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'defile.' 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 defile

Verb (1)

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun

1685, in the meaning defined above

Verb (2)

1705, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for defile

Verb (1)

Middle English, alteration (influenced by filen to defile, from Old English fȳlan) of defoilen to trample, defile, from Anglo-French defoiller, defuler, to trample, from de- + fuller, foller to trample, literally, to full — more at full

Noun

French défilé, from past participle of défiler — see defile entry 3

Verb (2)

French défiler, from dé- de- + filer to move in a column — more at file

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Time Traveler for defile

The first known use of defile was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for defile

defile

noun

English Language Learners Definition of defile

: a narrow passage through mountains

de·​file | \di-ˈfīl \
defiled; defiling

Legal Definition of defile 

: to dishonor by physical acts (as trampling, dirtying, or mutilating) defiling the flag

Other Words from defile

defilement noun
defiler noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on defile

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with defile

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for defile

Spanish Central: Translation of defile

Nglish: Translation of defile for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of defile for Arabic Speakers

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