noun New Orleans Cookery.
- a powder made from the ground leaves of the sassafras tree, used as a thickener and to impart a pungent taste to soups, gumbos, and other dishes.
- a folder, box, etc, used to keep documents or other items in order
- the documents, etc, kept in this way
- documents or information about a specific subject, person, etcwe have a file on every known thief
- an orderly line or row
- a line of people in marching formation, one behind anotherCompare rank 1 (def. 6)
- any of the eight vertical rows of squares on a chessboard
- 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
- obsolete a list or catalogue
- Canadian a group of problems or responsibilities, esp in government, associated with a particular topicthe environment file
- on file recorded or catalogued for reference, as in a file
- to place (a document, letter, etc) in a file
- (tr) to put on record, esp to place (a legal document) on public or official record; register
- (tr) to bring (a suit, esp a divorce suit) in a court of law
- (tr) to submit (copy) to a newspaper or news agency
- (intr) to march or walk in a file or filesthe ants filed down the hill
- 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
- rare, British slang a cunning or deceitful person
- (tr) to shape or smooth (a surface) with a file
- (tr) obsolete to pollute or defile
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.”
“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.
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.
- 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.
see in single file; on file; rank and file.