Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Gunfire directed along the length of a target, such as a column of troops.
  • noun A target vulnerable to sweeping gunfire.
  • noun Architecture A linear arrangement of a series of interior doors, as to a suite of rooms, so as to provide an unobstructed view when the doors are open.
  • transitive verb To rake with gunfire.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Milit., to pierce, scour, or rake with shot through the whole length, as a work or line of troops; be in a position to attack (a military work or a line of troops) in this manner.
  • noun Milit., a line or straight passage; specifically, the situation of a place, or of a body of men, which may be raked with shot through its whole length.
  • noun Milit., An infantry or artillery fire which sweeps a line of works or men from flank to flank.

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

  • noun rare A line or straight passage, or the position of that which lies in a straight line.
  • noun (Mil.) A firing in the direction of the length of a trench, or a line of parapet or troops, etc.; a raking fire.
  • transitive verb (Mil.) To pierce, scour, or rake with shot in the direction of the length of, as a work, or a line of troops.

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

  • noun gunfire directed along the length of a target
  • noun architecture a series of doors that provide a vista when open
  • verb transitive to rake something with gunfire

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

  • noun gunfire directed along the length rather than the breadth of a formation
  • verb rake or be in a position to rake with gunfire in a lengthwise direction

Etymologies

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

[French, series, string, row, from enfiler, to string together, run through, from Old French : en-, in, on; see en– + fil, thread (from Latin fīlum; see gwhī- in Indo-European roots).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Borrowing from French enfilade.

Examples

  • But 'enfilade' is in my top 5 most awesomest things ever, and 'one armed scissor' rocks my world.

    Drowned In Sound // Feed

  • The master bath, dining space and living space are arranged enfilade about a centerline that leads through a double-height window wall to a sculpture garden and the park beyond.

    Vanguard Way House by Morrison Seifert Murphy

  • Though the two made a point of being cordial to each other after World War I, Donovan confided to Putzell that he always resented MacArthur being so slow to protect his right flank from the murderous enfilade at Landres-et-Saint-Georges.

    Wild Bill Donovan

  • Views through doorways, echoing traditional enfilade arrangements, permit comparisons.

    Irascible Still

  • Though the two made a point of being cordial to each other after World War I, Donovan confided to Putzell that he always resented MacArthur being so slow to protect his right flank from the murderous enfilade at Landres-et-Saint-Georges.

    Wild Bill Donovan

  • "Soane's enfilade at Dulwich Picture Gallery is one of the great jewels in the world," says gallery Director Ian Dejardin.

    Dulwich's 200-Year-Old Jewel

  • Charlotte Moss This window in a hornbeam hedge at d'Orsan provides a view of the enfilade of outdoor rooms.

    Stately French Gardens

  • Set within an arch above the grand staircase, it had as a backdrop a dramatic enfilade of columns.

    Michael Henry Adams: Saluting the Met's Gay Gala!

  • The can get a perfect enfilade on the redoubts so we are going to strengthen the traverses.

    The 5th Seaforth Highlanders in the trenches

  • For now I saw what Lew had seen - the fool was never going to wheel, he was taking the Light Brigade straight into the heart of the Russian army, towards those massive batteries at the valley foot, that were already belching at us, while the cannon on either side were raking us from the flanks, trapping us in a terrible enfilade that must smash the whole command to pieces.

    The Sky Writer

Comments

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  • "ENFILADE, is when a gun sweeps the inside of a parapet or fortress." (citation in Historical Military Terms list description)

    The meaning has expanded somewhat since this dictionary was written (see first WeirdNet definition).

    October 9, 2008

  • In architecture, it refers to a linear arrangement of interior doors that provides a vista when the doors are open.

    I guess you could shoot clear through all the rooms, too.

    October 10, 2008

  • "Then the house had been boldly planned with a ball-room, so that, instead of squeezing through a narrow passage to get to it (as at the Chiverses’) one marched solemnly down a vista of enfiladed drawing-rooms (the sea-green, the crimson and the bouton d’or), seeing from afar the many-candled lustres reflected in the polished parquetry, and beyond that the depths of a conservatory where camellias and tree-ferns arched their costly foliage over seats of black and gold bamboo."

    - Edith Wharton, 'The Age of Innocence'.

    September 19, 2009

  • Reesetee--would that make it like a shotgun shack?

    January 31, 2011