A Dictionary of the English Language
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Defile (verb active)

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View Scan · View Transcription · from page 554

To Defíle. v.a. [afilan, Sax. from ful, foul.]

  1. To make foul or impure; to make nasty or filthy; to dirty.

    There is a thing, Harry, known to many in our land by the name of pitch: this pitch, as ancient writers do report, doth defile. Shakespeare's Henry IV. p. i.

    He is justly reckoned among the greatest prelates of this age, however his character may be defiled by mean and dirty hands. Swift's Letter concerning the Sacramental Test.

  2. To pollute; to make legally or ritually impure.

    That which dieth of itself he shall not eat, to defile himself therewith. Lev. xxii. 8.

    Neither shall he defile himself for his father. Lev. xxi. 11.

  3. To corrupt chastity; to violate.

            Ev'ry object his offence revil'd,
    The husband murder'd, and the wife defil'd.
    Prior.

  4. To taint; to corrupt; to vitiate; to make guilty.

    Forgetfulness of good turns, defiling of souls, adultery and shameless uncleanness. Wisd. xiv. 26.

    God requires rather that we should die than defile ourselves with impieties. Stillingfleet.

    Let not any instances of sin defile your requests. Wake.

Sources: Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part 1 (46) · The Bible - Leviticus (13) · Prior, Matthew (162) · Stillingfleet, Edward (38) · Swift, Jonathan (306) · Wake, William (7) · The Bible - Wisdom (12)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Defile (verb active)." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: November 10, 2012. http://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/?p=3765.


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