Main definitions of file in English

: file1file2file3

file1

noun

  • 1A folder or box for holding loose papers together and in order for easy reference:

    ‘a file of correspondence’
    • ‘The man dropped the files, papers flying out of the folders and floating softly to the ground.’
    • ‘Her face remained straight, with no emotion and she quickly grabbed her files and moved towards the door to follow the other doctor.’
    • ‘She found lots of files and other papers, but no keys.’
    • ‘He took a handful of papers from the file he held, then placed the folder on Tanner's desk.’
    • ‘As she started humming the tune and pulled out a stack of papers from the only file in her filing cabinet, the phone rang.’
    • ‘If they did not have the required number, they continued selecting files in reverse alphabetic order starting with the letter M.’
    • ‘I pulled out all his drawers, rummaged through his files and papers.’
    • ‘And then, today, I came across two large box files stuffed with paper copies of the correspondence, all neatly filed in date order.’
    • ‘He moved a pile of old work papers and case files from off the coffee table and placed his bowl of broth down.’
    • ‘The remaining wall was home to a huge bookshelf, with files lining the top and bottom half.’
    • ‘In Australia he worked for a time at the sprawling Department of Veterans, one of hundreds silently compiling files which lined acres of wall.’
    • ‘The last drawer contained a stack full of files and papers.’
    • ‘Files and thus loose documents belonging to files were color coded so I knew which specific stack they were in or which folder they were filed into.’
    • ‘His brief case contains many fat pink paper files.’
    • ‘She handed him the file she had tucked behind her back.’
    • ‘Preparation of products using recycled items will be the prime focus and the items will include cardboard files, paper cups and bags.’
    • ‘Some held thin paper files and sniffed importantly.’
    • ‘The admiral pushed the file towards the edge of the desk.’
    • ‘Parker was kind of hidden behind the files when I entered her office.’
    • ‘You can hardly see him behind the files on his Commons desk.’
    folder, portfolio, binder, box, document case
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A collection of information about a particular person or thing:
      ‘MI5 were keeping a file on him’
      • ‘The respondent received clients' files from two separate former lawyers and proceeded to work on the case.’
      • ‘Being newly refurbished, the premises now houses files, books and information on every imaginable topic.’
      • ‘The information held in the files is extremely difficult and, in the majority of cases, impossible to reinstate.’
      • ‘The information revealed in the files was astonishing.’
      • ‘They found that nearly one-fifth of them still contained sensitive information such as company files and bank-account details.’
      • ‘The work involves painstakingly searching through files and financial information looking for wrongdoing.’
      • ‘My information is that the files pertaining to this particular arrest were sitting on the desk of the DPP for some time previously.’
      • ‘The ideal for any organisation is that their employees can access all company information, documents or files within seconds - no matter where they are in the world.’
      • ‘A child or young person can ask to have access to the information in their file.’
      • ‘Confidential files allegedly containing detailed information about his visit were found on a London Street.’
      • ‘A number of stories, partly fuelled by the British government's refusal to release all the relevant files, have grown up around Hess and his mission.’
      • ‘By the time he emerges from school and the armed forces, the ordinary young adult cannot have escaped becoming the subject of at least a dozen personal information files.’
      • ‘If you are declined credit, the lender should provide the main reason for this - whether the decision was based upon a credit score, information held on a credit file or its own policy.’
      • ‘It is the start of a drive towards the collection in one file of all information on you in official data bases, and maybe a few commercial ones, too.’
      • ‘The people likely to work in this kind of environment may not value keeping detailed files on who ordered what for the purpose of working out what they might need in six months.’
      • ‘Parents claim their children were put at risk when a model agency left behind hundreds of files containing photographs and personal details when it moved offices.’
      dossier, document, record, report, case history, case study
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2Computing A collection of data, programs, etc. stored in a computer's memory or on a storage device under a single identifying name:
      ‘you can save the file to your hard disk’
      • ‘And they had to figure out what to name the file, before they could close down the computer and head out into the snow.’
      • ‘Search your computer's files, audio, video, images and emails, and even the Web.’
      • ‘Users will also need special software to play the files on their desktop computers.’
      • ‘Lastly there's a flaw related to the display of the names of downloaded files.’
      • ‘Does the company have at least one back-up copy of all data and software files stored at a secure off-site storage location?’
      batch of data, document, text
      View synonyms
  • 2Canadian A number of issues and responsibilities relating to a particular policy area:

    ‘what progress has the Prime Minister made on the unity file?’

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1 Place (a document) in a cabinet, box, or folder in a particular order:

    ‘the contract, when signed, is filed’
    figurative ‘he still had the moment filed away in his memory’
    • ‘This latest roll call of grand-slam winners is unlikely to be filed away among the classics, all of them celebrating only their first major title.’
    • ‘This allows a GM to easily file the orders for a game in its folder without cutting or, in the case of two games on opposite sides of the same sheet of paper, going to the copy shop.’
    • ‘The completed questionnaires were filed in a secure cabinet.’
    • ‘No, that all looked to have been filed away safely in some mental cupboard.’
    • ‘If he had given the photos straightaway to a museum or other institution they might have been filed away for years until someone got around to looking at them.’
    • ‘I file the papers in their eventual home and create a pointer for myself to remind me that there's unfinished business filed away there.’
    • ‘Presently, raw data from most research are likely to be filed away or lost in the depths of a hard disk once the paper is published.’
    • ‘Pre-election promises, such as the reintroduction of wealth tax and taxation of trading profits, have been filed away.’
    • ‘Once users have downloaded what they want, they apparently annotate it and file it in filing cabinets and folders just as they always did.’
    • ‘The findings did not alter government policy and were simply filed away.’
    • ‘He began collecting lists, brochures and catalogues, which he filed away on the top of a cabinet in his large office.’
    • ‘Customer purchase commitments are recorded in contracts that may be filed away or scanned into an electronic repository; in neither case are the data easy to access.’
    • ‘Cultural material deemed inappropriate like this Popeye cartoon are filed away in studio vaults, or in many cases just burned.’
    • ‘This will be filed away by Portugal in the same category as England's win over Paraguay: job done.’
    • ‘She shrugged the thought and continued filing the folders in the metal cabinet.’
    • ‘She finally kissed him on the forehead, and then returned to filing the strewn folders.’
    • ‘His office was neat and tidy, his papers neatly stacked on his desk, or filed away in cabinets.’
    • ‘She picked up a bunch of folders from her desk and filed them into a cabinet labelled: ‘Simon’.’
    • ‘She she went straight to her desk and filed the folder in a locked cabinet in her desk.’
    • ‘But all he received in return was a polite thank you note while the piece was quietly filed away in the orchestra's library.’
    categorize, classify, organize, put in place, put in order, order, arrange, catalogue, tabulate, index, pigeonhole
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Submit (a legal document, application, or charge) to be placed on record by the appropriate authority:
      ‘criminal charges were filed against the firm’
      [no object] ‘the company had filed for bankruptcy’
      • ‘Bored with his career and bland, conservative nature, Miriam has already filed for divorce.’
      • ‘Does your client not have any copies of any of the process or other documents that have been filed or orders made?’
      • ‘The state government challenged the magistrate's order by filing a petition in the Bombay high court.’
      • ‘Paperwork was filed today with the court, saying he is no longer representing Jackson.’
      • ‘No charges were ever filed against the accountant.’
      • ‘They are referred to in the submissions filed in support of this application.’
      • ‘The applicant filed an application for judicial review, but it was dismissed by consent.’
      • ‘I had never been told before this that they had even already filed for divorce.’
      • ‘But it sounds like Rifkin originally filed this patent in order to challenge the idea of patenting living materials.’
      • ‘A class-action suit was recently filed by lawyers for the homeless who had been improperly denied their benefits.’
      • ‘These applications were filed in the appeals court and during the hearing it was not allowed as evidence.’
      • ‘After charges were filed, federal authorities began to look for the defendant.’
      • ‘Out of 6,250 applications that were filed for legal assistance with the foundation, 3,843 were approved.’
      • ‘Six of the companies also filed a parallel suit in Germany.’
      • ‘Provided the certificate is filed within 7 days you can have a public funding assessment.’
      • ‘The company has just filed for bankruptcy with debts of over £169.7 million.’
      • ‘The special leave application filed by the applicant certainly cannot be regarded as hopeless.’
      • ‘In December, charges were filed against the women who testified.’
      • ‘In early 2002 the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US.’
      • ‘Ms. Conner is now divorced and her nursing home has filed for bankruptcy protection.’
      apply, put in, register, sign up, ask
      bring, press, lodge, place, lay, prefer, put forward, present, submit
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 (of a reporter) send (a story) to a newspaper or news organization.
      • ‘I've since picked it up, done additional reporting and filed my story.’
      • ‘You want to stay on, filing stories destined for front pages.’
      • ‘Even wire service reporters cannot beat them because the former must file copy to a news desk before it is published.’
      • ‘It does not require, to meet Dr. Ink's standards, that the reporter file the story from that place.’
      • ‘Paul Reynolds, their crime correspondent filed a report at lunchtime about the arrest of the suspect and the mistress.’
      • ‘Every daily reporter will file something from the news conference.’
      • ‘Newspaper and television reporters filed dozens of stories from the scene of the fire.’
      • ‘The News Editor then ensures all the stories are filed by deadline so they can go to the sub-editors.’
      • ‘The intrepid reporters have filed stories from around the world, including Tokyo, Montreal and Alberquerque, New Mexico.’
      • ‘But because our writers are already filing timely stories that won't hold, we've decided to launch without having in place every single piece.’
      • ‘Three or four trained reporters can work around that because they've trained to file stories.’
      • ‘I talked to that reporter before they went to file the story.’
      • ‘And even then it's mostly a problem for reporters, who get fed up of filing the same story.’
      • ‘It was the sound of frustrated and exhausted BBC Radio 4 reporter Michael Buchanan struggling to file his story for yesterday's Today programme.’
      • ‘Both the reporter and I needed to file stories at the top of the hour, so the interview was uniquely direct and productive.’
      • ‘See, I've worked in journalism for the last seventy-eight years, ever since the usual way a reporter would file a story was by telegram.’
      • ‘Nine organizations and four individual journalists filed a federal suit in New York, seeking an injunction against enforcement of restrictions on movement.’
      • ‘One reporter filed a statement that there were over one thousand people in the march.’
      • ‘The Birmingham News's senior political reporter filed this report.’
      • ‘Most of the print reporters were heading back to file their stories.’

Phrases

  • on file

    • In a file or filing system.

      • ‘The reports must be filed monthly with the Supreme Court and be kept on file with the local court's clerk.’
      • ‘This is compared to the voter's signature on file at the elections office.’
      • ‘You will be pleased to hear that I have enough of these tales on file to last another six months, and three out of the next four involve things getting blown up.’
      • ‘A key factor is that these households pay a monthly bill, so they already have their credit card on file.’
      • ‘He has a retaliation complaint on file with the city's Employee Relations Board.’
      • ‘With regard to evidence, I have been told that you have everything on file and you have the files in front of you.’
      • ‘You should make sure the address they have on file is your current address and that any charges on the account were made by you.’
      • ‘Of course, I already knew they would not have my name on file, but I figured it couldn't hurt.’
      • ‘I also know that by law, many companies are required to keep written resume's on file for at least a year.’
      • ‘The boy was cleared of the charges and has no previous convictions, charges or warnings but despite this his fingerprints were kept on file.’

Origin

Late Middle English (as a verb meaning ‘string documents on a thread or wire to keep them in order’): from French filer to string, fil a thread, both from Latin filum a thread. Compare with file.

Pronunciation:

file

/fʌɪl/

Main definitions of file in English

: file1file2file3

file2

noun

  • 1A line of people or things one behind another:

    ‘files of tourists stream up the narrow lanes of Mont St Michel’
    • ‘He walked off to a corridor out of the landing bay with the lead general at his side and the other two in file behind them.’
    • ‘It's all too clear: it's not the visionaries but rather the pragmatics that are standing in file.’
    • ‘They line nine men up in a file, one behind the other.’
    • ‘Aside from a few occasions, we rode in file, all strung out, from the start until Pradollano.’
    • ‘‘There,’ she said softly, and a moment later, saw a dark file of flying shapes appear.’
    line, column, row, string, chain, queue, procession, train, convoy, caravan
    crocodile
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Military A small detachment of troops:
      ‘a file of English soldiers had ridden out from Perth’
      • ‘Maneuvering and the use of machine guns in fighting made infantry files pressing along the front inefficient.’
      • ‘Commanders and platoon leaders should lead from the front of attack formation even when in file or column when fighting in urban terrain.’
      • ‘One soldier in the file was hit by mortar fire a few yards from my tank.’
    2. 1.2Chess Each of the eight rows of eight squares on a chessboard running away from the player towards the opponent.
      Compare with rank
      • ‘Two pawns of the same color lined up on a file as the result of a capture.’
      • ‘Instead of just accepting this situation, an experienced player would actively play to create a file for his Rooks.’
      • ‘For kings on the same file, this is just an odd number of squares between kings!’
      • ‘Since the position is closed, we have time (if needed) to bring our pieces to a better square or file.’
      • ‘Black is opening a file on the queenside in order to activate his rook.’

verb

[NO OBJECT]
  • (of a group of people) walk one behind the other, typically in an orderly and solemn manner:

    ‘the mourners filed into the church’
    • ‘They all filed out of the room and stopped just outside the door.’
    • ‘The group filed out of the recording booth and into the room.’
    • ‘He gently placed a kiss on her forehead and walked out with the medics filing out behind him.’
    • ‘Sarah's two groupies filed in behind her, both had their own individual walks but they would all be classified in the same category.’
    • ‘At the funeral they were filing past the open coffin to pay their respects.’
    • ‘The mourners filed out of the church.’
    • ‘As the rest of the Training Center filed out, I walked up onto the stage and behind the curtain.’
    • ‘The guys all filed out of the room until it was just the two of them.’
    • ‘The movie was soon over and the group filed out of the cinema.’
    • ‘The group filed out of the classroom and made their way downstairs to the locker rooms.’
    • ‘Fingers were crossed and prayers said as the group filed back into their seats.’
    • ‘She glanced out the window, and saw the group filing down the path a few stories down.’
    • ‘The group slowly filed into the small cell, circling the block in quiet reverence.’
    • ‘The mostly middle-aged crowd from labour unions and peace groups filed behind a truck with speakers blasting, ‘Power to the People’.’
    • ‘The group filed out of the room, Cheryl and Tim staying a moment behind.’
    • ‘A few seconds passed and the group filed to the back of the shuttle.’
    • ‘The group filed out, and one of them slammed the door shut, ‘What did they want with us?’’
    • ‘There was a beep as an elevator door opened, and a group of people filed out.’
    • ‘The group all filed into each of the rooms, which Jim presumed were identical.’
    • ‘He looked over to one of the hallways leading into the dining hall and saw a large group of people filing in through the doors.’
    walk in a line, proceed in a line, march, parade, troop, pass in formation
    View synonyms

Origin

Late 16th century: from French file, from filer to string.

Pronunciation:

file

/fʌɪl/

Main definitions of file in English

: file1file2file3

file3

noun

  • A tool with a roughened surface or surfaces, typically of steel, used for smoothing or shaping a hard material.

    • ‘He would also have punches with which to make holes, shears for cutting sheet metal and files for smoothing the metal.’
    • ‘The exception would be the use of a hacksaw with a fine toothed blade to cut it to length and a metal file to smooth out the roughness.’
    • ‘The facility is filled with workbenches bearing tool boxes loaded with files, stones, scrapers and reamers.’
    • ‘Basic Fitting was a course designed to equip graduates with the skills required to use metals tools, drills, files and the like.’
    • ‘It would be impossible to etch checkering like this with a hand file because the area you'd want to checker is surrounded by stuff you just don't want to cut.’
    • ‘Fine-toothed files shaped tangs on both barrels, one stroke at a time.’
    • ‘Sandersons was situated on the Cutlery Road and was involved in the production of tools, saws, files etc.’
    • ‘Maintain the existing angle on the blade, and sharpen with a smooth pass with the file.’
    • ‘Use a smooth file or sanding block to take off the sharp edge with a few shear strokes (down and along the edge simultaneously).’

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1 Smooth or shape with a file:

    ‘never file your nails from the centre to the sides’
    • ‘They took me back to the house and my aunt cleaned me up then gave me a manicure, filing my nails and painting them maroon.’
    • ‘You can often bend the brake wall back and file it smooth enough to keep riding on it.’
    • ‘A juror was dismissed from duty yesterday after reading a magazine and filing her nails during a case.’
    • ‘She was seated in the foyer, and when she was not fixing appointments, was busy filing her nails.’
    • ‘Trim them regularly, and if you file your nails do it in one direction only, as sawing back and forth will encourage them to split.’
    • ‘Your favourite shirt might be fuchsia, or you might have a tendency to file your nails and pumice your feet while you're in the bath.’
    • ‘After spreading a dry towel across her lap so not to dirty her dress, she took Liz's left hand and began filing the nails.’
    • ‘The head was shaped with a bow saw, then rasped, filed, and smoothed like the shaft.’
    • ‘The expert use of forging dies and of skilled hands to file, smooth, polish, and finish are readily apparent.’
    • ‘First, Sharon filed my nails into lovely rounded shapes.’
    • ‘The edges of the bands were filed smooth before they were used and males were banded on the right forearm and females on the left forearm.’
    • ‘Mike shaped, filed and polished the buttplate and triggerguard from rough brass castings before fitting them to the stock.’
    • ‘And filing my nails has become really important.’
    • ‘The technicians wear small paper masks over their mouths, but their hands and faces are liberally covered with white powder from filing clients' acrylic nails.’
    • ‘Brooks filed each part to shape, marked both locks as ‘London Warranted,’ and finished them with color case hardening.’
    • ‘When dry, Claire gently tapped it - she said when it sounded hard and solid she knew it was ready to be filed into shape.’
    • ‘He then files the piece to smooth out the rough edges and rubs it on different sand papers for a smooth finish.’
    • ‘I suspect the government agent assigned to my life spends most of the day filing his nails and eating toast and wondering how I can go so long without ever doing laundry.’
    • ‘The secretary had tight red curls done all through her hair, and was filing her nails when I caught her attention.’
    • ‘She was busy filing her nails and I cleared my throat.’
    smooth, buff, rub, rub down, polish, burnish, furbish
    shape, refine
    scrape, abrade, rasp, sandpaper
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1file something away/off Remove something by grinding it off with a file.
      • ‘Once the worst pitting and damage is filed away, he sands the metal with a coarse sandpaper.’
      • ‘It's rather creepy how the dead ant-parts are filed off in the spiral staircases and heaped in piles behind the painted barn.’
      • ‘The one place where the jagged edges are filed smoothly, efficiently away.’
      • ‘If caught early enough, the cracks can be filed away before they spread deeper a bit like filing a cracked finger nail before it splits.’

Origin

Old English fīl, of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch vijl and German Feile.

Pronunciation:

file

/fʌɪl/

Main definitions of file in English

: file1file2file3

filé

noun

North American
  • [mass noun] Pounded or powdered sassafras leaves used to flavour and thicken soup, especially gumbo.

    • ‘Likewise filé powder made from the dried leaves of the sassafras tree would be added during the final stages of cooking to give the gumbo a ‘stringy’ texture.’
    • ‘Filé has since become a signature flavor in Cajun cooking, adding authentic Louisiana character to mouth-watering gumbos and your own favorite dishes.’
    • ‘"It's a sin to eat gumbo without filé."’

Origin

Mid 19th century: from French, past participle of filer to twist.

Pronunciation:

filé

/fʌɪl/