Definitions for defiledɪˈfaɪl, ˈdi faɪl

This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word defile

Random House Webster's College Dictionary

de•filedɪˈfaɪl(v.t.)-filed, -fil•ing.

  1. to make foul, dirty, or unclean.

  2. to violate the chastity of.

  3. to desecrate.

  4. to sully, as a person's reputation.

Origin of defile:

1275–1325; < OF defouler to trample on, violate


de•filedɪˈfaɪl, ˈdi faɪl(n.; v.)-filed, -fil•ing.

  1. (n.)a narrow passage, esp. between mountains.

    Category: Geography (terms)

  2. (v.i.)to march in a line or by files.

Origin of defile:

1675–85; < F défilé, n. use of ptp. of défiler to file off; see defilade

Princeton's WordNet

  1. defile, gorge(verb)

    a narrow pass (especially one between mountains)

  2. defile, sully, corrupt, taint, cloud(verb)

    place under suspicion or cast doubt upon

    "sully someone's reputation"

  3. tarnish, stain, maculate, sully, defile(verb)

    make dirty or spotty, as by exposure to air; also used metaphorically

    "The silver was tarnished by the long exposure to the air"; "Her reputation was sullied after the affair with a married man"

  4. foul, befoul, defile, maculate(verb)

    spot, stain, or pollute

    "The townspeople defiled the river by emptying raw sewage into it"

Webster Dictionary

  1. Defile(verb)

    to march off in a line, file by file; to file off

  2. Defile(verb)

    same as Defilade

  3. Defile(noun)

    any narrow passage or gorge in which troops can march only in a file, or with a narrow front; a long, narrow pass between hills, rocks, etc

  4. Defile(noun)

    the act of defilading a fortress, or of raising the exterior works in order to protect the interior. See Defilade

  5. Defile(verb)

    to make foul or impure; to make filthy; to dirty; to befoul; to pollute

  6. Defile(verb)

    to soil or sully; to tarnish, as reputation; to taint

  7. Defile(verb)

    to injure in purity of character; to corrupt

  8. Defile(verb)

    to corrupt the chastity of; to debauch; to violate

  9. Defile(verb)

    to make ceremonially unclean; to pollute


  1. Defile

    Defile is a geographic term for a narrow pass or gorge between mountains or hills. It has its origins as a military description of a pass through which troops can march only in a narrow column or with a narrow front. On emerging from a defile into open country, soldiers are said to "debouch". In a traditional military formation, soldiers march in rank and files, so, if a column of soldiers approach a narrow pass the formation must narrow which means that files on the outside must be ordered to the rear so that the column has fewer files and more ranks. The French verb for this order is défilé, from which the English verb comes, as does the physical description for a valley that forces this manoeuvre. Defiles of military significance can also be formed by other physical features that flank a pass or path and cause it to narrow, for example impassable woods and rivers. At the Battle of Agincourt a defile formed by the woods of Agincourt and Tramecourt caused a choke point for the French army and aided the English in their victory over the French. Some defiles have a permanent strategic importance and become known by that term in military literature. For example the military historian William Siborne names such a geographic feature in France near the frontier with Germany in his book Waterloo Campaign 1815:

Translations for defile

Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary


a line of people, vehicles etc moving forward in order often as a celebration of some event

a circus parade.

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