Meaning of FILE in English

/ faɪl; NAmE / noun , verb

■ noun


a box or folded piece of card for keeping loose papers together and in order :

a box file

A stack of files awaited me on my desk.


a collection of information stored together in a computer, under a particular name :

to access / copy / create / delete / download / save a file

Every file on the same disk must have a different name.

—see also PDF


file (on sb) a file and the information it contains, for example about a particular person or subject :

secret police files

to have / open / keep a confidential file on sb

Your application will be kept on file (= in a file, to be used later) .

Police have reopened the file (= have started collecting information again) on the missing girl.


a metal tool with a rough surface for cutting or shaping hard substances or for making them smooth

—see also nail file


a line of people or things, one behind the other :

They set off in file behind the teacher.


- (in) single file

■ verb


[ vn ] file sth (away) to put and keep documents, etc. in a particular place and in a particular order so that you can find them easily; to put a document into a file :

The forms should be filed alphabetically.

I filed the letters away in a drawer.

Please file it in my 'Research' file.


file (for sth) ( law ) to present sth so that it can be officially recorded and dealt with :

[ v ]

to file for divorce

[ vn ]

to file a claim / complaint / petition / lawsuit

[also v to inf ]


[ vn ] ( of a journalist ) to send a report or a story to your employer


[ v + adv. / prep. ] to walk in a line of people, one after the other, in a particular direction :

The doors of the museum opened and the visitors began to file in.


[ vn ] file sth (away / down, etc.) to cut or shape sth or make sth smooth using a file :

to file your nails



noun senses 1 to 3 and verb senses 1 to 3 late Middle English (as a verb meaning string documents on a thread or wire to keep them in order ): from French filer to string, fil a thread, both from Latin filum a thread. Compare with file line .

noun sense 5 and verb sense 4 late 16th cent.: from French file , from filer to string.

noun sense 4 and verb sense 5 Old English fīl , of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch vijl and German Feile .

Oxford Advanced Learner's English Dictionary.      Оксфордский английский словарь для изучающик язык на продвинутом уровне.