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See also: defilé, défile, défilé, and defilè



  • IPA(key): /dɪˈfaɪl/
  • Rhymes: -aɪl
  • (file)

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English defilen (to make dirty), alteration (due to Middle English defoulen, defoilen (to trample, abuse)) of Middle English befilen (to befoul, to defile, to make foul), from Old English befȳlan (to befoul, defile), from Proto-Germanic *bi- + *fūlijaną (to defile, make filthy). Equivalent to de- +‎ file. Cognate with Dutch bevuilen (to defile, soil). More at de-, file, be-, and foul.


defile (third-person singular simple present defiles, present participle defiling, simple past and past participle defiled)

  1. (transitive) To make unclean, dirty, or impure; soil; befoul.
    • 1611, “Job 16:15”, in King James Bible:
      I have sewed sackcloth upon my skin, And defiled my horn in the dust.
    • 1911, The Forerunner, volume 2, page 271:
      “That's only dirt—it will brush off.” But he looked at me with his haggard hopeless eyes and said—— “It is mud. Black, slimy, horrible mud. I am defiled."
  2. (transitive) To vandalize or add inappropriate contents to something considered sacred or special; desecrate
    To urinate on someone's grave is an example of a way to defile it.
  3. (transitive) To deprive or ruin someone's (sexual) purity or chastity, often not consensually; stain; tarnish; mar; rape
    The serial rapist kidnapped and defiled a six-year-old girl.
Related terms[edit]
Category English terms derived from the PIE root *puH- not found

Etymology 2[edit]

Earlier defilee, from French défilé, from défiler (to march past), from file (file).


defile (plural defiles)

  1. A narrow way or passage, e.g. between mountains.
    • (Can we date this quote by Plutarch and provide title, author’s full name, and other details?), "Life of Nicias", tr. Ian Scott-Kilvert, Penguin, p. 239:
      The next morning the enemy were on the march before him, seized the defiles, blocked the fords of the rivers, destroyed the bridges, and sent out cavalry to patrol the open ground, so as to oppose the Athenians at every step as they retreated.
  2. A single file, such as of soldiers.
  3. The act of defilading a fortress, or of raising the exterior works in order to protect the interior.
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.
See also[edit]


defile (third-person singular simple present defiles, present participle defiling, simple past and past participle defiled)

  1. (archaic, intransitive) To march in a single file.
    • 1979, Cormac McCarthy, Suttree, Random House, p.138:
      They defiled down a gully to the water and bunched and jerked their noses at it and came back.




From French défilé.


  • IPA(key): /defǐleː/
  • Hyphenation: de‧fi‧le


defìlē m (Cyrillic spelling дефѝле̄)

  1. march-past



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