[ dih-feys ]
/ dɪˈfeɪs /

verb (used with object), de·faced, de·fac·ing.

to mar the surface or appearance of; disfigure: to deface a wall by writing on it.
to efface, obliterate, or injure the surface of, as to make illegible or invalid: to deface a bond.

Nearby words

  1. deesis,
  2. deet,
  3. deets,
  4. def,
  5. def.,
  6. defacement,
  7. defaecate,
  8. defalcate,
  9. defalcation,
  10. defamation

Origin of deface

1275–1325; Middle English defacen < Old French desfacier, equivalent to des- dis-1 + facier (face face + -ier infinitive suffix)

1. spoil. See mar.

Related forms Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for defacing

British Dictionary definitions for defacing


/ (dɪˈfeɪs) /


(tr) to spoil or mar the surface, legibility, or appearance of; disfigure
Derived Formsdefaceable, adjectivedefacement, noundefacer, noun

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 defacing



mid-14c., "to obliterate," from Old French desfacier "mutilate, destroy, disfigure," from des- "away from" (see dis-) + Vulgar Latin *facia (see face (n.)). Weaker sense of "to mar, make ugly" is late 14c. in English. Related: Defaced; defacing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper