from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- transitive v. To make filthy or dirty; pollute: defile a river with sewage.
- transitive v. To debase the pureness or excellence of; corrupt: a country landscape that was defiled by urban sprawl.
- transitive v. To profane or sully (a reputation, for example).
- transitive v. To make unclean or unfit for ceremonial use; desecrate: defile a temple.
- transitive v. To violate the chastity of.
- intransitive v. To march in single file or in files or columns.
- n. A narrow gorge or pass that restricts lateral movement, as of troops.
- n. A march in a line.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- v. to make impure; to make dirty.
- n. A narrow way or passage, e.g. between mountains.
- n. A single file, such as of soldiers.
- v. To march in a single file.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- intransitive v. To march off in a line, file by file; to file off.
- transitive v. Same as defilade.
- n. Any narrow passage or gorge in which troops can march only in a file, or with a narrow front; a long, narrow pass between hills, rocks, etc.
- n. The act of defilading a fortress, or of raising the exterior works in order to protect the interior. See Defilade.
- transitive v. To make foul or impure; to make filthy; to dirty; to befoul; to pollute.
- transitive v. To soil or sully; to tarnish, as reputation; to taint.
- transitive v. To injure in purity of character; to corrupt.
- transitive v. To corrupt the chastity of; to debauch; to violate; to rape.
- transitive v. To make ceremonially unclean; to pollute.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- To make unclean, dirty, or impure; soil; befoul.
- Figuratively, to sully or tarnish, as reputation, etc.
- To make ceremonially unclean.
- To overcome the chastity of; debauch; violate; deflower.
- To taint, in a moral sense; corrupt; vitiate; debauch; pollute.
- Synonyms To contaminate, foul, stain, dirty. See taint, v. t.
- To march off in a line, or by files; file off.
- In fortification, same as defilade.
- n. A narrow passage in a mountain region; a gorge through which a body of troops or other persons can pass in a file or narrow line.
- n. A march by files.
- n. Synonyms Gorge, Ravine, etc. See valley.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- v. spot, stain, or pollute
- v. make dirty or spotty, as by exposure to air; also used metaphorically
- v. place under suspicion or cast doubt upon
- n. a narrow pass (especially one between mountains)
Middle English defilen, alteration (influenced by filen, to befoul, from Old English fȳlan; of defoulen, to trample on, abuse, pollute, from Old French defouler, to trample, full cloth : de-, de- + fouler, to trample, beat down; see full2.
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.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English defilen ("to make dirty"), alteration (due to Middle English defoulen, defoilen ("to trample, abuse")) of Middle English befilen ("to defile, make foul"), from Old English befȳlan ("to befoul, defile"), from Proto-Germanic *bi- + *fūlijanan (“to defile, make filthy”). Cognate with Dutch bevuilen ("to defile, soil"). More at be-, file, foul. (Wiktionary)
Earlier defilee, French défilé, from défiler ("to march past"), from file ("file"). (Wiktionary)