Definition of deface in English:



  • Spoil the surface or appearance of (something), for example by drawing or writing on it.

    ‘he defaced library books’
    • ‘The room was wrecked and most of the pews had been stolen or defaced.’
    • ‘As Gardaí continue the hunt for reckless vandals who defaced statues of Our Lady at a rural grotto in Kerry, shocked locals held a prayer meeting on the site on Monday night and prayed for forgiveness for the culprits.’
    • ‘Speed camera bosses are undeterred by vandals who defaced signs warning drivers that mobile speed cameras operate in the area.’
    • ‘Needless to say, I was shocked when I saw this source of pride defaced with black spray paint.’
    • ‘The vandals have also defaced rocks elsewhere on the moor, including popular routes for walkers and visitors to the area.’
    • ‘Yet they knew that the Massachusett Indians, for example, considered it impious and inhumane to deface the monuments of the dead.’
    • ‘Madison homeowners are livid after vandals defaced their homes.’
    • ‘The scrawl which defaces many a wall, subway, building, bus shelter and cable box across the district is deeply offensive to many people.’
    • ‘I just got through telling him that a kid was defacing school property and it was in his area.’
    • ‘A local constituency office in Keighley has been targeted by vandals who have defaced the building with graffiti.’
    • ‘Government offices were attacked, and trains stopped and defaced.’
    • ‘‘I couldn't condone anyone defacing the city, even in chalk form,’ said Dublin's Lord Mayor, Dermot Lacey.’
    • ‘Some of them reportedly defaced posters of her in the lobby, writing comments and tossing drinks on her pictures.’
    • ‘We are fighting back against the litter louts, the illegal fly-tippers and fly-posters and the vandals who deface the city with graffiti.’
    • ‘Angry residents claim graffiti vandals are continuing to deface Chiswick's streets because the owners of business and public properties have a ‘lazy attitude’ towards removing tags.’
    • ‘In one, a Minneapolis housing project is represented as a lawless free-fire zone, with gangsters shooting it out in the streets and anti-Hmong graffiti defacing parked cars.’
    • ‘It was part of a Skipton Civic Society project to restore the area and Gwynne Walters, from the society, made a plea to the local community not to deface the bridge nor vandalise the area.’
    • ‘In recent weeks the graffiti vandals have defaced the memorial.’
    • ‘Your eyes glow every single morning, and you're always smiling; you doodle both your names in all the books, even deface public property.’
    • ‘They moved here in 1959 and kept themselves busy by defacing the books in the local library.’
    • ‘My usual idea of political activism is defacing the candidate's photos in their election literature.’
    • ‘A Bedford Bishop says he is ‘fed up’ with vandals defacing his church.’
    • ‘It may sound obvious but cheque book customers should not deface Irish pound cheques by crossing out the currency sign and writing in a euro sign instead - or vice versa.’
    • ‘York Minster clergy expressed shock and outrage today after vandals defaced its historic walls with offensive graffiti.’
    • ‘The persons invading the San Jose office barricaded themselves in a conference room where they defaced the walls and damaged furniture.’
    • ‘Just as people shouldn't drop litter, they shouldn't deface the city with graffiti, and ways need to be found of persuading them to stop doing it.’
    vandalize, disfigure, mar, spoil, ruin, deform, sully, tarnish, damage
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Middle English: from Old French desfacier, from des- (expressing removal) + face ‘face’.