[ dih-fahyl ]
/ dɪˈfaɪl /

verb (used with object), de·filed, de·fil·ing.

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 defile

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


Definition for defile (2 of 2)

[ dih-fahyl, dee-fahyl ]
/ dɪˈfaɪl, ˈdi faɪl /


any narrow passage, especially between mountains.

verb (used without object), de·filed, de·fil·ing.

to march in a line or by files.

Origin of defile

1675–85; < French défilé, noun use of past participle of défiler to file off; see defilade Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for defile

British Dictionary definitions for defile (1 of 2)

/ (dɪˈfaɪl) /

verb (tr)

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 of defile

defilement, noundefiler, noun

Word Origin for defile

C14: from earlier defoilen (influenced by filen to file ³), from Old French defouler to trample underfoot, abuse, from de- + fouler to tread upon; see full ²

British Dictionary definitions for defile (2 of 2)

/ (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 for defile

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