From Middle English defilen (“to make dirty”), alteration (due to Middle English defoulen, defoilen (“to trample, abuse”)) of Middle English befilen (“to defile, make foul”), from Old English befȳlan (“to befoul, defile”), from Proto-Germanic *bi- + *fūlijaną (“to defile, make filthy”). Cognate with Dutch bevuilen (“to defile, soil”). More at be-, file, foul.
defile (plural defiles)
- A narrow way or passage, e.g. between mountains.
- A single file, such as of soldiers.
- The act of defilading a fortress, or of raising the exterior works in order to protect the interior.
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