- To defile is defined as to make something unclean, either literally or figuratively.
When you scribble over a beautiful painting, this is an example of a situation where you defile the painting.
- to make filthy or dirty; pollute
- to make ceremonially unclean
- to corrupt
- to profane or sully (as a person's name)
- Archaic to violate the chastity of; deflower
Origin: Middle English defilen, altered (by associated, association with filen, to make foul ; from Old English fylan ; from ful, foul) ; from defoulen ; from Old French defouler, to tread underfoot, insult ; from de-, intensive plush fouler ; from Midieval Latin fullare, to tread, full
Origin: French défiler, to file off, unravel ; from dé- (L de), from plush filer, to form a line ; from fil, thread: see file
- a narrow passage through which troops must defile
- any narrow valley or mountain pass
- a march in single file or by files
Origin: Fr défilé < the v.
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
transitive verb de·filed, de·fil·ing, de·files
- To make filthy or dirty; pollute: defile a river with sewage.
- To debase the pureness or excellence of; corrupt: a country landscape that was defiled by urban sprawl.
- To profane or sully (a reputation, for example).
- To make unclean or unfit for ceremonial use; desecrate: defile a temple.
- To violate the chastity of.
Origin: Middle English defilen, alteration (influenced by filen, to befoul, from Old English fȳlan; see pū̆- in Indo-European roots) of defoulen, to trample on, abuse, pollute, from Old French defouler, to trample, full cloth : de-, de- + fouler, to trample, beat down; see full2.
- de·fileˈment noun
- de·filˈer noun
- de·filˈing·ly adverb
intransitive verb de·filed, de·fil·ing, de·files
- A narrow gorge or pass that restricts lateral movement, as of troops.
- A march in a line.
Origin: French défiler : dé-, away, off (from Old French de-; see de-) + file, line, file (from Old French filer, to spin thread, march in line; see file1). N., from French défilé, from past participle of défiler.