If you deface something, you've blemished or disfigured it in some way. For example, graffiti can deface a statue.

The de- in deface should be a clue that this is a negative word, but the face part could be confusing. This word uses face in a different way than usual — as if everything had a face. Think about regular faces for a minute — and how weird and silly someone would look with mustard all over their face. Not a great look, right? That's why we use deface when a building, a painting, a window, or anything that has been ruined in a similar way. Throwing a cup of coffee on a valuable painting ruins the face of the painting — so we say it's been defaced.

Definitions of deface

v mar or spoil the appearance of

“scars defaced her cheeks”
blemish, disfigure
show 4 types...
hide 4 types...
mangle, maul
injure badly by beating
mark, pit, pock, scar
mark with a scar
mark with or as if with pockmarks
cicatrise, cicatrize
form a scar, after an injury
Type of:
deflower, impair, mar, spoil, vitiate
make imperfect

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.