AskDefine | Define defile

Dictionary Definition

defile n : a narrow pass (especially one between mountains) [syn: gorge]


1 place under suspicion or cast doubt upon; "sully someone's reputation" [syn: sully, corrupt, taint, cloud]
2 make dirty or spotty, as by exposure to air; also used metaphorically; "The silver was tarnished by the long exposure to the air"; "Her reputation was sullied after the affair with a married man" [syn: tarnish, stain, maculate, sully]
3 spot, stain, or pollute; "The townspeople defiled the river by emptying raw sewage into it" [syn: foul, befoul, maculate]

User Contributed Dictionary



Etymology 1

Middle English defoulen, defoilen, Old French defouler, "to trample upon".


  1. to make impure; to make dirty. Less strong than to pollute

Etymology 2

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


  1. A way or gorge so narrow that only one person at a time can pass.
See also


  1. (intransitive) To march in a single file.

Extensive Definition

Defile has several meanings:
  • for dictionary definitions.
  • defile (geography) is a geographic term for a narrow pass or gorge between mountains. It has its origins as a military description of a pass through which troops can march only in a narrow column or with a narrow front.

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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