American English

Definition of file noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1a box or folded piece of thick paper for keeping loose papers together and in order a hanging file A stack of files awaited me on my desk.
  2. 2a collection of information stored together in a computer, under a particular name to access/copy/create/delete/download/save a file Every file in the same folder must have a different name. see also PDF
  3. 3a file and the information it contains, for example about a particular person or subject secret police files Your application will be kept on file (= in a file, to be used later). file on somebody to have/open/keep a confidential file on someone Police have reopened the file (= have started collecting information again) on the missing girl.
  4. 4a metal tool with a rough surface for cutting or shaping hard substances or for making them smooth
  5. 5a line of people or things, one behind the other They set off in file behind the teacher.
  6. Idioms
    (in) single file
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    (in) one line, one behind the other They made their way in single file along the cliff path.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: file