Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[dih-fahyl] /dɪˈfaɪl/
verb (used with object), defiled, defiling.
to make foul, dirty, or unclean; pollute; taint; debase.
to violate the chastity of.
to make impure for ceremonial use; desecrate.
to sully, as a person's reputation.
Origin of defile1
1275-1325; Middle English defilen, defelen, alteration of defoilen (by association with filen to file3) < Anglo-French, Old French defouler to trample on, violate; compare Old English befȳlan to befoul
Related forms
defilable, adjective
defilement, noun
defiler, noun
defilingly, adverb
nondefilement, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for defiler
Historical Examples
  • And Mr. Gosse saw him as the defiler of the purity of the English language.

  • He returned unexpectedly soon, however; found his home occupied, and stabbed the defiler of it.

  • I don't mind smoke,' she said mendaciously, trying to appease the defiler of the air with a little smile.

    The Convert

    Elizabeth Robins
  • The impulse to crush the defiler was checked by the sudden appearance of two men inside the curtains.

    Graustark George Barr McCutcheon
  • They hate the army of Aerschot and Lorraine as a mother hates the defiler of her child.

    Golden Lads Arthur Gleason and Helen Hayes Gleason
  • Schwartz's kick at the Master had thrown the adoring dog into a maniac rage against this defiler of his idol.

    Lad: A Dog Albert Payson Terhune
British Dictionary definitions for defiler


verb (transitive)
to make foul or dirty; pollute
to tarnish or sully the brightness of; taint; corrupt
to damage or sully (someone's good name, reputation, etc)
to make unfit for ceremonial use; desecrate
to violate the chastity of
Derived Forms
defilement, noun
defiler, noun
Word Origin
C14: from earlier defoilen (influenced by filen to file³), from Old French defouler to trample underfoot, abuse, from de- + fouler to tread upon; see full²


/ˈdiːfaɪl; dɪˈfaɪl/
a narrow pass or gorge, esp one between two mountains
a single file of soldiers, etc
(mainly military) to march or cause to march in single file
Word Origin
C17: from French défilé, from défiler to file off, from filer to march in a column, from Old French: to spin, from fil thread, from Latin fīlum
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for defiler



c.1400, "to desecrate, profane;" mid-15c., "to make foul or dirty," alteration of earlier defoulen, from Old French defouler "trample down, violate," also "ill-treat, dishonor," from de- "down" (see de-) + foler "to tread," from Latin fullo "person who cleans and thickens cloth by stamping on it" (see foil (v.)).

The alteration (or re-formation) in English is from influence of Middle English filen (v.) "to render foul; make unclean or impure," literal and figurative, from Old English fylen (trans.), related to Old English fulian (intrans.) "to become foul, rot," from the source of foul (adj.). Cf. befoul, which also had a parallel form befilen. Related: Defiled; defiling.



"narrow passage," 1640s, especially in a military sense, "a narrow passage down which troops can march only in single file," from French défilé, noun use of past participle of défiler "march by files" (17c.), from de- "off" (see de-) + file "row," from Latin filum "thread" (see file (v.)). The verb in this sense is 1705, from French défiler.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for defiler

Word Value for defiler

Scrabble Words With Friends