[verb dee-foh-lee-eyt; adjective dee-foh-lee-it, -eyt]
- 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.
- to lose leaves.
- (of a tree) having lost its leaves, especially by a natural process.
Origin of defoliate
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for defoliation
Defoliation of seedlings and bearing trees often occurs in July and August.
Also shriveled kernels are the result of defoliation by early frosts which may be very local and affect some trees and not others.
Therefore, trees deprived of their foliage are liable to perish, and they are injured in proportion to their defoliation.
Caterpillars, grubs, and beetles specialize on defoliation and feed upon the leaves, the lungs of the trees.The Spell of the Rockies
Enos A. Mills
The aphids were very numerous and unfortunately caused the defoliation of all the currants with the exception of the blacks.
- to deprive (a plant) of its leaves, as by the use of a herbicide, or (of a plant) to shed its leaves
- (of a plant) having shed its leaves
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 defoliation
1793, perhaps a back-formation from defoliation. Earlier in this sense was defoil (c.1600). Related: Defoliated; defoliating.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper