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file1

[fahyl] /faɪl/
noun
1.
a folder, cabinet, or other container in which papers, letters, etc., are arranged in convenient order for storage or reference.
2.
a collection of papers, records, etc., arranged in convenient order:
to make a file for a new account.
3.
Computers. a collection of related data or program records stored on some input/output or auxiliary storage medium:
This program's main purpose is to update the customer master file.
4.
a line of persons or things arranged one behind another (distinguished from rank).
5.
Military.
  1. a person in front of or behind another in a military formation.
  2. one step on a promotion list.
6.
one of the vertical lines of squares on a chessboard.
7.
a list or roll.
8.
a string or wire on which papers are strung for preservation and reference.
verb (used with object), filed, filing.
9.
to place in a file.
10.
to arrange (papers, records, etc.) in convenient order for storage or reference.
11.
Journalism.
  1. to arrange (copy) in the proper order for transmittal by wire.
  2. to transmit (copy), as by wire or telephone:
    He filed copy from Madrid all through the war.
verb (used without object), filed, filing.
12.
to march in a file or line, one after another, as soldiers:
The parade filed past endlessly.
13.
to make application:
to file for a civil-service job.
Idioms
14.
on file, arranged in order for convenient reference; in a file:
The names are on file in the office.
Origin
late Middle English
1425-1475
1425-75; late Middle English filen < Middle French filer to string documents on a thread or wire, Old French: to wind or spin thread < Late Latin fīlāre, verbal derivative of Latin fīlum thread, string
Related forms
fileable, adjective
filer, noun
nonfiler, noun
Synonyms
10. classify, label, catalog, index, list, categorize.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for on file

file1

/faɪl/
noun
1.
a folder, box, etc, used to keep documents or other items in order
2.
the documents, etc, kept in this way
3.
documents or information about a specific subject, person, etc: we have a file on every known thief
4.
an orderly line or row
5.
a line of people in marching formation, one behind another Compare rank1 (sense 6)
6.
any of the eight vertical rows of squares on a chessboard
7.
(computing) a named collection of information, in the form of text, programs, graphics, etc, held on a permanent storage device such as a magnetic disk
8.
(obsolete) a list or catalogue
9.
(Canadian) a group of problems or responsibilities, esp in government, associated with a particular topic: the environment file
10.
on file, recorded or catalogued for reference, as in a file
verb
11.
to place (a document, letter, etc) in a file
12.
(transitive) to put on record, esp to place (a legal document) on public or official record; register
13.
(transitive) to bring (a suit, esp a divorce suit) in a court of law
14.
(transitive) to submit (copy) to a newspaper or news agency
15.
(intransitive) to march or walk in a file or files: the ants filed down the hill
Derived Forms
filer, noun
Word Origin
C16 (in the sense: string on which documents are hung): from Old French filer, from Medieval Latin fīlāre; see filament

file2

/faɪl/
noun
1.
a hand tool consisting essentially of a steel blade with small cutting teeth on some or all of its faces. It is used for shaping or smoothing metal, wood, etc
2.
(rare, Brit, slang) a cunning or deceitful person
verb
3.
(transitive) to shape or smooth (a surface) with a file
Derived Forms
filer, noun
Word Origin
Old English fīl; related to Old Saxon fīla, Old High German fīhala file, Greek pikros bitter, sharp

file3

/faɪl/
verb
1.
(transitive) (obsolete) to pollute or defile
Word Origin
Old English fӯlan; related to Middle Low German vülen; see defile1, filth, foul
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 on file

file

v.

"to place (papers) in consecutive order for future reference," mid-15c., from Middle French filer "string documents on a wire for preservation or reference," from fil "thread, string" (12c.), from Latin filum "a thread, string," from PIE *gwhis-lom (cf. Armenian jil "sinew, string, line," Lithuanian gysla "vein, sinew," Old Church Slavonic zila "vein"), from root *gwhi- "thread, tendon." The notion is of documents hung up on a line.

File (filacium) is a threed or wyer, whereon writs, or other exhibits in courts, are fastened for the better keeping of them. [Cowel, "The Interpreter," 1607]
Methods have become more sophisticated, but the word has stuck. Related: Filed; filing.

n.

1520s, "string or wire on which documents are strung," from French file "row," from Middle French filer (see file (v.)). The meaning "arranged collection of papers" is from 1620s; computer sense is from 1954. The military sense "line or row of men" (1590s) is from the French verb in the sense of "spin out (thread); march in file."

metal tool, Old English feol (Mercian fil), from Proto-Germanic *finkhlo (cf. Old Saxon and Old High German fila, Middle Dutch vile, Dutch vijl, German Feile), probably from PIE *peig- "to cut, mark by incision" (see paint (v.)). The verb in this sense is from early 13c., from Old English filian. Related: Filed; filing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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on file in Science
file
  (fīl)   
A collection of related data or program records stored as a unit with a single name. Files are the basic units that a computer works with in storing and retrieving data.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for on file

file

noun
  1. A pickpocket (1754+ Underworld)
  2. A wastebasket •Often humorously called file 17, the circular file, etc (1940s+)
Related Terms

circular file

[first sense perhaps fr the tool; perhaps related to French filou, ''pickpocket'']


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with on file

on file

In or as if in a record for easy reference. For example, There's no job open right now, but we'll keep your résumé on file. The use of file in the sense of “a collection of papers stored for ready reference” dates from the early 1600s.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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