from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To mar or spoil the appearance or surface of; disfigure.
  • transitive v. To impair the usefulness, value, or influence of.
  • transitive v. Obsolete To obliterate; destroy.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To damage something, especially a surface, in a visible or conspicuous manner.
  • v. To void or devalue; to nullify or degrade the face value.
  • v. To alter a coat of arms or a flag by adding an element to it.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To destroy or mar the face or external appearance of; to disfigure; to injure, spoil, or mar, by effacing or obliterating important features or portions of
  • transitive v. To destroy; to make null.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To mar the face or surface of; disfigure; spoil the appearance of: as, to deface a monument.
  • To impair or efface; blot or blot out; erase; obliterate; cancel: as, to deface an inscription; to deface a record.

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

  • v. mar or spoil the appearance of


Middle English defacen, from Old French desfacier : des-, de- + face, face; see face.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English, "to obliterate," from Old French desfacier ("mutilate, destroy, disfigure"), from des- ("away from") (see dis-) + Vulgar Latin *facia (Wiktionary)



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