verb (used with object), de·fo·li·at·ed, de·fo·li·at·ing.

  1. to strip (a tree, bush, etc.) of leaves.
  2. 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), de·fo·li·at·ed, de·fo·li·at·ing.

  1. to lose leaves.


  1. (of a tree) having lost its leaves, especially by a natural process.

verb (diːˈfəʊlɪˌeɪt)

  1. to deprive (a plant) of its leaves, as by the use of a herbicide, or (of a plant) to shed its leaves

adjective (diːˈfəʊlɪɪt)

  1. (of a plant) having shed its leaves

1793, perhaps a back-formation from defoliation. Earlier in this sense was defoil (c.1600). Related: Defoliated; defoliating.

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