to destroy or cause widespread loss of leaves in (an area of jungle, forest, etc.), as by using chemical sprays or incendiary bombs, in order to deprive enemy troops or guerrilla forces of concealment.
verb (used without object), defoliated, defoliating.
to lose leaves.
(of a tree) having lost its leaves, especially by a natural process.
Origin: 1785–1795; < Medieval Latindēfoliātus, past participle of dēfoliāre, equivalent to Latindē-de- + foli(um) leaf + -ātus-ate1