Dictionary > English Dictionary > Definition, synonym and antonym of file
Meaning of file by Wiktionary Dictionary



    • Rhymes: -aɪl

    Etymology 1

    French fil ( “thread” ), Latin filum ( “thread” ) .


    file ( plural: files )

    1. A collection of papers collated and archived together .
    2. ( computing ) An aggregation of data on a storage device, identified by a name .
    • ( collection ): document, a paper
    Derived terms


    file ( third-person singular simple present files present participle filing, simple past and past participle filed )

    1. ( transitive ) To commit official papers to some office
    2. ( transitive ) To place in an archive in a logical place and order
    3. ( transitive ) To store a file ( aggregation of data ) on a storage medium such as a disc or another computer .
    4. ( transitive ) To shape ( an object ) by cutting with a file ( cutting tool ) .
    5. ( intransitive ) To cut with a file ( cutting tool ) .
    6. ( intransitive, with for, chiefly law ) To make a formal request for the benefit of an official status .
      She filed for divorce the next day .
      The company filed for bankruptcy when the office opened on Monday .
      They filed for a refund under their warranty .
    Derived terms

    Etymology 2

    French file, from filer, “to spin out”, “arrange one behind another”, Latin fīlāre, from filum, “thread” .


    file ( plural: files )

    1. A column of people one behind another, whether "single file" or in a large group with many files side by side .
      The troops marched in Indian file .
    2. ( chess ) one of the eight vertical lines of squares on a chessboard ( i.e., those which run from number to number ). The analog horizontal lines are the ranks .
    Derived terms

    Etymology 3

    Old English feol. Cognate with Dutch vijl, German Feile, West Frisian file .


    A file ( tool ).

    file ( plural: files )

    1. A hand tool consisting of a handle to which a block of coarse metal is attached, and used for removing sharp edges or for cutting, especially through metal
    2. ( slang, archaic ) A man, guy, fellow; especially one known for being cunning or resourceful .
    Derived terms


    file ( third-person singular simple present files present participle filing, simple past and past participle filed )

    1. ( transitive ) to smooth, grind, or cut with a file
      I'd better file the bottoms of the table legs. Otherwise they will scratch the flooring .
    Derived terms

    Etymology 4

    Middle English filen ( “to defile” ), from Old English fȳlan ( “to defile, make foul” ), from fūl ( “foul” ). More at defile .


Explanation of file by Wordnet Dictionary


    1. file a formal charge against

    2. place in a container for keeping records

    3. File these bills, please
    4. record in a public office or in a court of law

    5. file for divorce
      file a complaint
    6. smooth with a file

    7. file one's fingernails
    8. proceed in line

    9. The students filed into the classroom
    1. a steel hand tool with small sharp teeth on some or all of its surfaces

    2. office furniture consisting of a container for keeping papers in order

    3. a set of related records ( either written or electronic ) kept together

    4. a line of persons or things ranged one behind the other

    Definition of file by GCIDE Dictionary


    1. File ( fīl ), n. [F. file row ( cf. Pr., Sp., Pg., & It. fila ), LL. fila, fr. L. filum a thread. Cf. Enfilade, Filament, Fillet.]
      1. An orderly succession; a line; a row; as: ( Mil. ) A row of soldiers ranged one behind another; -- in contradistinction to rank, which designates a row of soldiers standing abreast; a number consisting the depth of a body of troops, which, in the ordinary modern formation, consists of two men, the battalion standing two deep, or in two ranks.

      ☞ The number of files in a company describes its width, as the number of ranks does its depth; thus, 100 men in “fours deep” would be spoken of as 25 files in 4 ranks. Farrow.

      An orderly collection of papers, arranged in sequence or classified for preservation and reference; as, files of letters or of newspapers; this mail brings English files to the 15th instant. The line, wire, or other contrivance, by which papers are put and kept in order.

      It is upon a file with the duke's other letters. Shak.

      A roll or list. “A file of all the gentry.” Shak.

      2. Course of thought; thread of narration. [Obs.]

      Let me resume the file of my narration. Sir H. Wotton.

      3. ( computers ) a collection of data on a digital recording medium treated as a unit for the purpose of recording, reading, storage, or indexing; -- such a file is typically accessible by computer programs by the use of a file name. The data may be of any type codable digitally, such as simple ASCII-coded text, complex binary-coded data, or an executable program, or may be itself a collection of other files.

      File firing, the act of firing by file, or each file independently of others. -- File leader, the soldier at the front of any file, who covers and leads those in rear of him. -- File marching, the marching of a line two deep, when faced to the right or left, so that the front and rear rank march side by side. Brande & C. --Indian file, or Single file, a line of people marching one behind another; a single row. Also used adverbially; as, to march Indian file. -- On file, preserved in an orderly collection; recorded in some database. -- Rank and file. The body of soldiers constituting the mass of an army, including corporals and privates. Wilhelm. Those who constitute the bulk or working members of a party, society, etc., in distinction from the leaders.

    2. File v. t. [imp. & p. p. Filed ; p. pr. & vb. n. Filing.]
      1. To set in order; to arrange, or lay away, esp. as papers in a methodical manner for preservation and reverence; to place on file; to insert in its proper place in an arranged body of papers.

      I would have my several courses and my dishes well filed. Beau. & Fl.

      2. To bring before a court or legislative body by presenting proper papers in a regular way; as, “to file a petition or bill”. Burrill.

      3. ( Law ) To put upon the files or among the records of a court; to note on ( a paper ) the fact date of its reception in court.

      To file a paper, on the part of a party, is to place it in the official custody of the clerk. To file, on the part of the clerk, is to indorse upon the paper the date of its reception, and retain it in his office, subject to inspection by whomsoever it may concern. Burrill.

    3. File, v. i. [Cf. F. filer.] ( Mil. ) To march in a file or line, as soldiers, not abreast, but one after another; -- generally with off.

      To file with, to follow closely, as one soldier after another in file; to keep pace.

      My endeavors

      Have ever come too short of my desires,

      Yet filed with my abilities. Shak.

    4. File ( fīl ), n. [AS. feól; akin to D. viji, OHG. fīla, fīhala, G. feile, Sw. fil, Dan. fiil, cf. Icel. þēl, Russ. pila, and Skr. piç to cut out, adorn; perh. akin to E. paint.]
      1. A steel instrument, having cutting ridges or teeth, made by indentation with a chisel, used for abrading or smoothing other substances, as metals, wood, etc.

      ☞ A file differs from a rasp in having the furrows made by straight cuts of a chisel, either single or crossed, while the rasp has coarse, single teeth, raised by the pyramidal end of a triangular punch.

      2. Anything employed to smooth, polish, or rasp, literally or figuratively.

      Mock the nice touches of the critic's file. Akenside.

      3. A shrewd or artful person. [Slang] Fielding.

      Will is an old file in spite of his smooth face. Thackeray.

      Bastard file, Cross file, etc. See under Bastard, Cross, etc. -- Cross-cut file, a file having two sets of teeth crossing obliquely. -- File blank, a steel blank shaped and ground ready for cutting to form a file. -- File cutter, a maker of files. -- Second-cut file, a file having teeth of a grade next finer than bastard. -- Single-cut file, a file having only one set of parallel teeth; a float. -- Smooth file, a file having teeth so fine as to make an almost smooth surface.

    5. File, v. t.
      1. To rub, smooth, or cut away, with a file; to sharpen with a file; as, “to file a saw or a tooth”.

      2. To smooth or polish as with a file. Shak.

      File your tongue to a little more courtesy. Sir W. Scott.

    6. File, v. t. [OE. fulen, filen, foulen, AS. flan, fr. fl foul. See Foul, and cf. Defile, v. t.] To make foul; to defile. [Obs.]

      All his hairy breast with blood was filed. Spenser.

      For Banquo's issue have I filed my mind. Shak.