9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[dih-feys] /dɪˈfeɪs/
verb (used with object), defaced, defacing.
to mar the surface or appearance of; disfigure:
to deface a wall by writing on it.
to efface, obliterate, or injure the surface of, as to make illegible or invalid:
to deface a bond.
Origin of deface
1275-1325; Middle English defacen < Old French desfacier, equivalent to des- dis-1 + facier (face face + -ier infinitive suffix)
Related forms
defaceable, adjective
defacement, noun
defacer, noun
undefaceable, adjective
undefaced, adjective
1. spoil. See mar. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for defacing
  • The university eventually identified and disciplined several students for defacing the sculpture.
  • defacing private and public property should never be glorified.
  • Nun convicted of defacing missile released from prison.
  • Chewing gum isn't allowed inside the country to keep it from defacing public benches, floors and edifices.
  • Colonel accused of defacing cars with pro-Bush stickers.
  • Many visitors do not realize that collecting artifacts, digging sites and defacing rock art have several harmful results.
  • Library users may be fined for defacing books and other library resources.
  • Tampering, damaging or defacing public property is prohibited and will be strictly enforced.
  • No waxing, defacing or vandalizing of any of these facilities.
British Dictionary definitions for defacing


(transitive) to spoil or mar the surface, legibility, or appearance of; disfigure
Derived Forms
defaceable, adjective
defacement, noun
defacer, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for defacing



mid-14c., "to obliterate," from Old French desfacier "mutilate, destroy, disfigure," from des- "away from" (see dis-) + Vulgar Latin *facia (see face (n.)). Weaker sense of "to mar, make ugly" is late 14c. in English. Related: Defaced; defacing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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