I. file 1 S1 W2 AC /faɪl/ BrE AmE noun [countable]
[ Sense 1-3, 5: Date: 1500-1600 ; Language: French ; Origin: fil 'thread' , from Latin filum (because documents were stored on pieces of string). ]
[ Sense 4: Language: Old English ; Origin: feol ]
1 . a set of papers, records etc that contain information about a particular person or subject
Mendoza read over the file on the murders.
The FBI keeps files on former White House employees.
We will keep your details on file (=store them for later use) .
police/case/medical etc file
a copy of the court file
2 . a box or piece of folded card in which you store loose papers:
She pulled a blue file from the shelf.
3 . information on a computer that you store under a particular name:
a list of all the files and folders on your hard disk
4 . a metal tool with a rough surface that you rub on something to make it smooth ⇨ ↑ nail file
5 . a line of people who are standing or walking one behind the other
a file of soldiers marching in step
It was dark as we set off in file.
⇨ ↑ single file , ↑ rank and file
• • •
COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 3)
▪ open a file
Click on the icon to open the file.
▪ close a file
You may need to close the file and restart the computer.
▪ save a file
Save the file under a different filename.
▪ create a file
I created a file of useful contacts.
▪ delete a file (=remove it )
I accidentally deleted the wrong file.
▪ access a file (=open or read it)
You won’t be able to access the file if another user has opened it.
▪ edit a file (=make changes to it)
I edited the file and saved it to the hard disk.
▪ copy a file
To copy a file, save it using a new filename.
▪ move a file
He was trying to move the file from one folder to another.
▪ transfer a file (=move it from one computer system to another)
You can transfer files and share your stuff with friends.
▪ download a file (=move a copy of it from the Internet or another computer to your computer)
It just takes a few seconds to download the file.
▪ upload a file (=move a copy of it from your computer to the Internet or another computer)
Restart the web browser, and then upload the file.
▪ load a file (=put a file onto a computer)
Double-click on the icon and it will load the zip file onto your computer.
▪ send somebody a file (=send it using email)
Do you want me to send you the file?
▪ attach a file (=send it with an email)
Sorry, I forgot to attach the file.
▪ compress a file (=make it smaller so that it uses less space on a computer)
The program allows you to compress files.
■ NOUN + file
▪ a computer file
Delete some of the old computer files and create some space on the hard drive.
▪ a backup file (=a copy of a file, which is made in case the original becomes lost or damaged)
You can burn your backup file to CD or DVD.
▪ a text file
The text file contains hints on how to get the best out of the program.
▪ a data file
The bigger the data file, the more time is needed to search it.
▪ a graphics file
This handy utility allows you to change graphics files from one format to another.
• • •
▪ record information about something that is written down:
your medical records
the public records office
I have to keep a record of all my spending when I’m travelling on business.
▪ file a set of written records, or information stored on a computer under a particular name:
He began reading the file on the case.
I think I may have accidentally deleted the file.
▪ accounts ( also books informal ) an exact record of the money that a company has received and spent:
Companies are required by law to publish their annual accounts.
Someone had been falsifying the accounts.
The company’s books all seemed to be in order.
▪ ledger one of the official books in which a company’s financial records are kept, which show how much it has received and spent:
The costs have been moved from one column of the ledger to another.
▪ minutes an official written record of what is said and decided at a meeting:
Both points are mentioned in the minutes of the last meeting on August 3rd.
▪ diary a book in which you regularly write down the things that have happened to you:
In his diary he wrote, ‘It s lovely having him here, we’ve had so many cosy talks.’
I’ll just check in my diary to see if I’m free.
▪ blog a web page on the Internet on which someone regularly writes about their life, opinions, or a particular subject:
I may not always agree with David, but I always read his blog.
▪ register an official list of names of people, organizations etc:
Guests must sign the hotel register.
the national register of births, deaths, and marriages
Lloyds Register of Shipping
▪ roll an official list of names, especially of people who are allowed to do something such as vote or be in a class at school:
the electoral roll (=list of people who can vote in an area)
The teacher called the roll (=read out the list of the names of the students, who then have to say if they are present) .
▪ log an official record that is kept on a ship or plane:
Mr Appleby said he complained to a senior officer, who made a note in the ship’s log.
II. file 2 S3 W3 AC BrE AmE verb
1 . [transitive] to keep papers, documents etc in a particular place so that you can find them easily:
The contracts are filed alphabetically.
file something under something
I looked to see if anything was filed under my name.
file something away
The handbooks are filed away for future reference.
2 . [transitive] to give or send an official report or news story to your employer:
The officer left the scene without filing a report.
3 . [intransitive always + adverb/preposition, transitive] law to give a document to a court or other organization so that it can be officially recorded and dealt with
file a complaint/lawsuit/petition etc (against somebody)
Mr Genoa filed a formal complaint against the department.
The Morrisons have filed for divorce.
Today is the deadline for Americans to file their tax returns.
4 . [intransitive always + adverb/preposition] if people file somewhere, they walk there in a line:
We began to file out into the car park.
The mourners filed past the coffin.
5 . [intransitive always + adverb/preposition, transitive] to use a metal or wooden tool to rub something in order to make it smooth:
File down the sharp edges.
She sat filing her nails.
• • •
▪ keep to leave something in one particular place so that you can find it easily:
Where do you keep the scissors?
The keys are kept in my office.
▪ store to put things away and keep them until you need them:
Villagers have begun storing wood for the winter.
▪ save to keep something so that you can use or enjoy it in the future:
He had been saving the bottle of champagne for a special occasion.
We can save the rest of the pie for later.
▪ file to store papers or information in a particular order or a particular place:
All the contracts are filed alphabetically.
▪ collect to get and keep objects of the same type because you think they are attractive or interesting:
Kate collects old postcards.
▪ hold to keep something to be used when it is needed, especially something that many different people may need to use:
Medical records are now usually held on computers.
▪ reserve formal to keep part of something for use at a later time during a process such as cooking:
Reserve some of the chocolate so that you can use it for decorating the cake.
▪ hoard to keep large amounts of food, money etc because you think you may not be able to get them in the future – used when you do not approve of people doing this because it is not necessary or not fair to other people:
People have been hoarding food and fuel in case there is another attack.
Rationing of basic food products was introduced to prevent hoarding.