from The Century Dictionary.

  • To march off in a line, or by files; file off.
  • In fortification, same as defilade.
  • noun 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.
  • noun A march by files.
  • noun Synonyms Gorge, Ravine, etc. See valley.
  • 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.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To march off in a line, file by file; to file off.
  • transitive verb (Mil.) Same as defilade.
  • noun 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.
  • noun (Mil.) The act of defilading a fortress, or of raising the exterior works in order to protect the interior. See Defilade.
  • transitive verb To make foul or impure; to make filthy; to dirty; to befoul; to pollute.
  • transitive verb To soil or sully; to tarnish, as reputation; to taint.
  • transitive verb To injure in purity of character; to corrupt.
  • transitive verb To corrupt the chastity of; to debauch; to violate; to rape.
  • transitive verb To make ceremonially unclean; to pollute.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb transitive to make impure; to make dirty.
  • noun A narrow way or passage, e.g. between mountains.
  • noun A single file, such as of soldiers.
  • verb obsolete, intransitive To march in a single file.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb spot, stain, or pollute
  • verb make dirty or spotty, as by exposure to air; also used metaphorically
  • verb place under suspicion or cast doubt upon
  • noun a narrow pass (especially one between mountains)


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Earlier defilee, French défilé, from défiler ("to march past"), from file ("file").


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  • That reached, compensation for the ugly scenery we had to pass through began when we entered a beautiful mountain defile, about two hours from Damascus.

    The Romance of Isabel, Lady Burton William Henry Burton Wilkins 1897

  • The defile was a death trap, where huge pistons shot out and slammed across from side to side.

    Worldshaker Richard Harland 2009

  • The defile was a death trap, where huge pistons shot out and slammed across from side to side.

    Worldshaker Richard Harland 2009

  • A jagged chasm ran across the cavern, and on the other side of the defile was a writhing sea of furred flesh and sharp teeth.

    Curse of the Shadowmage Anthony, Mark, 1966- 1995

  • Before us the defile was a slit which was half choked by rock falls from above.

    Year of the Unicorn Norton, Andre 1965

  • Scattered along the bottom of the defile were the men who had fallen at the first fire, and Sanderson's eye glinted with rage when he looked at them; for he recognized some of them as men of the outfit for whom he had conceived a liking.

    Square Deal Sanderson Charles Alden Seltzer 1908

  • Sapientum_ -- 'a fountain of abundant water, which no heats of summer can ever dry, which no flood can ever defile, which is as a water of life, to them that thirst for life, a stream of cleansing to them that would be pure, and a medicine of such healing virtue that by it, through the might of God and the intercession of His saints, the most grievous wounds are made whole. '

    The House of Souls Arthur Machen 1905

  • The points which it was necessary to take to command the defile were the town of Arcola and a bridge over the rapid stream on which the town day.

    The Life Of Napoleon Bonaparte Tarbell, Ida 1899

  • The ice is found in a narrow defile, which is hemmed in by perpendicular sides of trap-rock, and displays a perfect chaos of fallen blocks of stone.

    Ice-Caves of France and Switzerland 1881

  • A large proportion of these were peace offerings, which afforded to the people the means of festive enjoyment. all Israel ... from the entering in of Hamath -- that is, the defile at

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible 1871


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  • as in a narrow passage or gorge

    February 23, 2007