• synonyms


[en-fuh-leyd, -lahd, en-fuh-leyd, -lahd]
See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
  1. Military.
    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.
  2. Architecture.
    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), en·fi·lad·ed, en·fi·lad·ing.
  1. 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 formsun·en·fi·lad·ed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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.

British Dictionary definitions for enfilade


  1. a position or formation subject to fire from a flank along the length of its front
verb (tr)
  1. to subject (a position or formation) to fire from a flank
  2. 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

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