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tr.v. de·filed, de·fil·ing, de·files
1. To make filthy or dirty; pollute: defile a river with sewage.
2. To debase the pureness or excellence of; corrupt: a country landscape that was defiled by urban sprawl.
3. To profane or sully (a reputation, for example).
4. To make unclean or unfit for ceremonial use; desecrate: defile a temple.
5. To have sexual intercourse with (a woman who is a virgin).
[Middle English defilen, alteration (influenced by filen, to befoul, from Old English fȳlan; see pū̆- in Indo-European roots) of defoulen, to trample on, abuse, pollute, from Old French defouler, to trample, full cloth : de-, de- + fouler, to trample, beat down; see full2.]
intr.v. de·filed, de·fil·ing, de·files
To move in single file or in files or columns: The soldiers defiled from the fort, arms raised in surrender.
1. A narrow gorge or pass that restricts lateral movement, as of troops.
2. A march in a line.
[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, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.