Meaning of FILE in English

I. ˈfīl, esp before pause or consonant -īəl noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English, from Old English fēol, fīl; akin to Old High German & Old Saxon fīla file, Old Norse thēl, and probably to Sanskrit piṁśati he cuts or hacks out — more at paint


a. : a hardened steel tool in the form of a bar or rod that has cutting ridges on its surface made by chisel cuts and that is used for forming or smoothing surfaces especially of metal by means of the cutting or abrading action of the ridges — see blunt file , double-cut file , float-cut file , machine file , rasp , rotary file , single-cut file , taper file

b. : a narrow instrument for shaping fingernails with a fine rough metal or emery surface

2. : the corrugated part of the stridulating organ of an insect that produces sound when rubbed

3. : a shrewd or crafty person

an old file of a storekeeper

II. verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: Middle English filen, from Old English fēolian, fīlian; akin to Old High German fīlōn to file, Old Norse thēla; derivative from the root of Old English fēol, fīl

transitive verb


a. : to rub, smooth, or cut with a file

file a piece of stock

filed away the rough edges

b. : to sharpen with a file

file a saw

2. : to refine especially by careful revision

a prose style with all ineptitudes filed away

intransitive verb

: to use or work with or as if with a file

III. transitive verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: Middle English filen, from Old English fȳlan, from fūl foul — more at foul

1. chiefly dialect : defile , befoul

2. chiefly dialect : debauch , dishonor

IV. verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: Middle English filen, from Middle French filer to string documents on a string or wire, from fil thread, string, from Latin filum; akin to Welsh gewyn sinew, nerve, Lithuanian gija thread, gysla vein, sinew, Armenian ǰil sinew, cord

transitive verb

1. : to arrange (as papers, cards, or letters) in a particular order for preservation and reference

2. obsolete : thread , string



(1) : to deliver (as a legal paper or instrument) after complying with any condition precedent (as the payment of a fee) to the proper officer for keeping on file or among the records of his office

(2) : to send (newspaper copy) to a newspaper or news agency by telephone, telegraph, or cable

filed a good story

b. : to place (as a paper or instrument) on file among the legal or official records of an office especially by formally receiving, endorsing, and entering

c. : to return (a law case) to the office of the clerk of a court without action on the merits

d. : to fill out and submit (an income tax return) to the appropriate office

4. : to perform the first act of (as a lawsuit) : commence

intransitive verb

: to register as a candidate especially in a primary election

file for county attorney

V. noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle French fil


a. : a wire or cord that documents are strung from especially in an order devised to facilitate reference

b. : a container (as a folder or a metal cabinet) in which papers are kept usually in chronological or alphabetical order for ready reference

2. obsolete : thread


a. obsolete : roll , list

b. : a collection of cards or papers usually arranged or classified

a file of newspapers

a letter file

4. : label 3

VI. noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle French file row, from filer to spin, from Late Latin filare, from Latin filum thread


a. : a row of persons, animals, or things arranged one behind the other

a file of infantrymen

to pass in file

— compare rank

b. : a row of squares extending vertically across a chessboard

a knight's pawn may capture on the rook's or the bishop's file


a. : a man in a military formation who occupies a position in a single rank

b. : a number or numerical position on the lineal list for promotion

a navy file

VII. intransitive verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: Middle French filer, from file, n.

: to march in a line not abreast but one after another

IX. ˈfī(ə)l noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English, perhaps of Celtic origin; akin to Old Irish fȳla dirty fellow

dialect England : rascal

X. (ˈ)fī(ə)l


variant of while

XI. noun

( -s )

Etymology: Dutch feil

dialect : a cloth especially for wiping a floor or table

XI. noun

1. : a collection of related data records (as for a computer)

2. : a complete collection of data (as text or a program) treated by a computer as a unit especially for purposes of input and output

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.