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[en-fuh-leyd, -lahd, en-fuh-leyd, -lahd] /ˈɛn fəˌleɪd, -ˌlɑd, ˌɛn fəˈleɪd, -ˈlɑd/
  1. a position of works, troops, etc., making them subject to a sweeping fire from along the length of a line of troops, a trench, a battery, etc.
  2. the fire thus directed.
  1. an axial arrangement of doorways connecting a suite of rooms with a vista down the whole length of the suite.
  2. an axial arrangement of mirrors on opposite sides of a room so as to give an effect of an infinitely long vista.
verb (used with object), enfiladed, enfilading.
Military. to attack with an enfilade.
Origin of enfilade
1695-1705; < French, equivalent to enfil(er) to thread, string (en- en-1 + -filer, derivative of fil < Latin fīlum thread) + -ade -ade1
Related forms
unenfiladed, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for enfilade
Historical Examples
  • If successful, it was to enfilade the Wylie kopjes from that position.

    Story of the War in South Africa Captain A. T. Mahan, U.S.N.
  • Half front your line that way so as not to let them enfilade you.

    Marion's Faith. Charles King
  • It assists in protecting from enfilade, and affords a plunging fire.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • From Caribou Ridge the Turks could enfilade parts of our firing-line.

  • A machine gun of the Canterbury Regiment was posted to enfilade them.

    New Zealanders at Gallipoli Major Fred Waite
  • For wherever wire is, machine guns are placed to enfilade it.

    New Zealanders at Gallipoli Major Fred Waite
  • You will note that they enfilade our lines as we reach the bottom land.

    Red Fleece Will Levington Comfort
  • Uncut wire and an enfilade from a redoubt which should have been blown up.

  • To be sure they are, and if you sit still you will be able to enfilade them as they retreat.

    A Double Knot George Manville Fenn
  • These precautions enabled the defenders to enfilade the approaching enemy.

    The Greater Republic Charles Morris
British Dictionary definitions for enfilade


a position or formation subject to fire from a flank along the length of its front
verb (transitive)
to subject (a position or formation) to fire from a flank
to position (troops or guns) so as to be able to fire at a flank
Word Origin
C18: from French: suite, from enfiler to thread on string, from fil thread
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
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Word Origin and History for enfilade

1706, from French enfilade, from Old French enfiler (13c.) "to thread (a needle) on a string, pierce from end to end," from en- "put on" (see en- (1)) + fil "thread" (see file (v.)).

Used of rows of apartments and lines of trees before modern military sense came to predominate. As a verb from 1706. Related: Enfiladed; enfilading.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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