When you defile something, you make it dirty or make it lose its purity. Think of a snowy field in which someone has tossed their old cans and wrappers. The litter defiles the winter wonderland.

For something to be defiled, it first must be pure. You can't defile a garbage dump or a messy room. Defile is often used in a religious context. If you were to burn a copy of the Bible or spray-paint the walls of a church, it could be said that you defiled the holy book or place.

Definitions of defile
  1. verb
    make dirty or spotty, as by exposure to air; also used metaphorically
    synonyms: maculate, stain, sully, tarnish
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    tarnish or stain
    type of:
    blob, blot, fleck, spot
    make a spot or mark onto
  2. verb
    spot, stain, or pollute
    “The townspeople defiled the river by emptying raw sewage into it”
    synonyms: befoul, foul, maculate
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    type of:
    attaint, disgrace, dishonor, dishonour, shame
    bring shame or dishonor upon
  3. verb
    place under suspicion or cast doubt upon
    synonyms: cloud, corrupt, pollute, sully, taint, tarnish
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    type of:
    deflower, impair, mar, spoil, vitiate
    make imperfect
  4. noun
    a narrow pass (especially one between mountains)
    synonyms: gorge
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    type of:
    mountain pass, notch, pass
    the location in a range of mountains of a geological formation that is lower than the surrounding peaks
Word Family

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