defoliate

[ verb dee-foh-lee-eyt; adjective dee-foh-lee-it, -eyt ]
/ verb diˈfoʊ liˌeɪt; adjective diˈfoʊ li ɪt, -ˌeɪt /

verb (used with object), de·fo·li·at·ed, de·fo·li·at·ing.

to strip (a tree, bush, etc.) of leaves.
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.

verb (used without object), de·fo·li·at·ed, de·fo·li·at·ing.

to lose leaves.

adjective

(of a tree) having lost its leaves, especially by a natural process.

Origin of defoliate

1785–1795; < Medieval Latin dēfoliātus, past participle of dēfoliāre, equivalent to Latin dē- de- + foli(um) leaf + -ātus -ate1

Related forms

de·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. 2019

Examples from the Web for defoliate

  • 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)

to deprive (a plant) of its leaves, as by the use of a herbicide, or (of a plant) to shed its leaves

adjective (diːˈfəʊlɪɪt)

(of a plant) having shed its leaves

Derived Forms

defoliation, noundefoliator, noun

Word Origin for defoliate

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