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defoliate

[verb dee-foh-lee-eyt; adjective dee-foh-lee-it, -eyt]
verb (used with object), de·fo·li·at·ed, de·fo·li·at·ing.
  1. to strip (a tree, bush, etc.) of leaves.
  2. to destroy or cause widespread loss of leaves in (an area of jungle, forest, etc.), as by using chemical sprays or incendiary bombs, in order to deprive enemy troops or guerrilla forces of concealment.
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verb (used without object), de·fo·li·at·ed, de·fo·li·at·ing.
  1. to lose leaves.
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adjective
  1. (of a tree) having lost its leaves, especially by a natural process.
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Origin of defoliate

1785–1795; < Medieval Latin dēfoliātus, past participle of dēfoliāre, equivalent to Latin dē- de- + foli(um) leaf + -ātus -ate1
Related formsde·fo·li·a·tion, nounde·fo·li·a·tor, nounun·de·fo·li·at·ed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for defoliate

Historical Examples

  • When neglected for two or three years, they often defoliate large trees.

    Soil Culture

    J. H. Walden


British Dictionary definitions for defoliate

defoliate

verb (diːˈfəʊlɪˌeɪt)
  1. to deprive (a plant) of its leaves, as by the use of a herbicide, or (of a plant) to shed its leaves
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adjective (diːˈfəʊlɪɪt)
  1. (of a plant) having shed its leaves
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Derived Formsdefoliation, noundefoliator, noun

Word Origin

C18: from Medieval Latin dēfoliāre, from Latin de- + folium leaf
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 defoliate

v.

1793, perhaps a back-formation from defoliation. Earlier in this sense was defoil (c.1600). Related: Defoliated; defoliating.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper