file Definition

  • 1a tool or container used to smooth, shape, or cut hard materials such as wood or metal
  • 2a collection of information that is stored on a computer under a single name and usually made up of one or more files
  • 3to arrange papers or documents in a particular order so that they can be easily found when needed

Using file: Examples

Take a moment to familiarize yourself with how "file" can be used in various situations through the following examples!

  • Example

    He used a file to smooth the rough edges of the metal.

  • Example

    I saved the document in a file on my computer.

  • Example

    She filed the papers alphabetically for easy reference.

file Synonyms and Antonyms

Synonyms for file

Antonyms for file

Phrases with file

  • to put something away in a safe place where it can be easily found later


    I always file away my important documents in a locked cabinet.

  • to declare oneself bankrupt, usually as a result of financial difficulties


    The company had to file for bankruptcy after losing a major lawsuit.

  • to categorize or classify something in a particular way


    This report should be filed under 'Sales' for future reference.

Origins of file

from Middle English 'fyle', from Old English 'fīl', meaning 'a file or list'


Summary: file in Brief

The term 'file' [fahyl] has multiple meanings. As a noun, it refers to a tool used to smooth or shape hard materials, or a collection of information stored on a computer. As a verb, it means to arrange papers or documents in a particular order. Phrases like 'file away' and 'file for bankruptcy' extend its usage, while idioms are not applicable. The word is often used formally, with synonyms like 'document' and 'record,' but also informally, with words like 'paperwork' and 'stuff.'

How do native speakers use this expression?