V2 Vocabulary Building Dictionary



Definition: 1. to corrupt or ruin something; 2. to destroy the sanctity of a sacred place

Synonyms: contaminate, pollute, befoul, besmirch, desecrate, profane, ruin

Antonyms: purify, consecrate

Tips: Defile comes from the French word fouler, "to trample underfoot," which is also related to our word "foul." It denotes making something unusable because it is now too dirty or has lost its sacred character, as though it has been trampled upon. Defile and desecrate are synonymous. Defile refers to corrupting something, damaging a reputation, or destroying the sanctity of something holy, while desecrate is specific to insulting or damaging something holy.

Usage Examples:

Once the city people discovered the charming little town, its leafy streets were rapidly defiled by choking traffic and obnoxious billboards. (besmirched, ruined)

In some cultures, it is still believed that the presence of a woman can defile a sacred place. (contaminate, desecrate)

The gang members defiled the school buildings with graffiti. (befouled, besmirched)

Over the years, the thousands of mountain climbers that have visited and climbed Mt. Everest have defiled this once-pristine natural wonder. (polluted, contaminated)

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