Online Encyclopedia

DEFILE

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V07, Page 926 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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DEFILE, a military expression for a passage, to march through which troops are compelled to " defile," or narrow their front (from the Fr. defiler, to march in a line, or by" files "). The word is usually applied to a ravine or gorge in a range of hills, but a causeway over a river, a bridge and even a village may equally be called a defile. The term is also used to express, without any special reference to military operations, a gorge in mountains. The verb " to defile " is used of troops marching on a narrow front, or narrowing their front, under all circumstances, and in this sense is the contrary of " deploy." "Defile," in the sense of "pollute," is another form of " defoul "; though spelt alike, the two words are pronounced differently, the accent being on the first syllable for the former and on the second for the latter.
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