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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Enfilade \En`fi*lade"\ (?; 277), n. [F., fr. enfiler to thread, go trough a street or square, rake with shot; pref. en- (L. in) + fil thread. See File a row.]

  1. A line or straight passage, or the position of that which lies in a straight line. [R.]

  2. (Mil.) A firing in the direction of the length of a trench, or a line of parapet or troops, etc.; a raking fire.


Enfilade \En`fi*lade"\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Enfiladed; p. pr. & vb. n. Enfilading.] (Mil.) To pierce, scour, or rake with shot in the direction of the length of, as a work, or a line of troops.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1706, a string of things in a straight line, from French enfilade, from Old French enfiler (13c.) "to thread (a needle) on a string; pierce from end to end," from en- "put on" (see en- (1)) + fil "thread" (see file (v.1)). Used of rows of apartments and lines of trees before military sense came to predominate: "a firing with a straight passage down ranks of men, channels in fortifications, etc." (1796). As a verb from 1706 in the military sense, "rake with shot through the full length." Related: Enfiladed; enfilading. The Old French verb was borrowed in Middle English as enfile "to put (something) on a thread or string."


n. 1 A line or straight passage, or the position of that which lies in a straight line. 2 gunfire directed along the length of a target. 3 (context architecture English) A series of doors that provide a vista when open. vb. (context transitive English) to rake something with gunfire

  1. n. gunfire directed along the length rather than the breadth of a formation [syn: enfilade fire]

  2. v. rake or be in a position to rake with gunfire in a lengthwise direction

Enfilade (Xanadu)

Enfilades are a class of tree data structures used in Project Xanadu "Green" designs of the 1970s and 1980s. Enfilades allow quick editing, versioning, retrieval and inter-comparison operations in a large, cross-linked hypertext database. The Xanadu "Gold" design starting in the 1990s used a related data structure called the Ent.

Enfilade (architecture)

In architecture, an enfilade is a suite of rooms formally aligned with each other. This was a common feature in grand European architecture from the Baroque period onward, although there are earlier examples, such as the Vatican stanze. The doors entering each room are aligned with the doors of the connecting rooms along a single axis, providing a vista through the entire suite of rooms. The enfilade may be used as a processional route and is a common arrangement in museums and art galleries, as it facilitates the movement of large numbers of people through a building.

Enfilade (disambiguation)

Enfilade is a military formation laterally exposed to enemy fire.

Enfilade may also refer to:

  • Enfilade (architecture), a suite of rooms along the same axis
  • Enfilade (Xanadu), a type of computational data structure
  • Enfilade (song), a 2000 song by At the Drive-In

Usage examples of "enfilade".

Not only was it exceptionally lofty, and on one flank of that series of bluffs which has before been mentioned as constituting the line upon which the Confederate grip of the stream was based, but the tortuous character of the channel gave particular facilities for an enfilading fire on vessels both before and after they came abreast the works.

Down the valley of the Ancre at its bend they had more or less of an enfilade.

These rains being abated by the twenty-sixth day of November, colonel Coote directed the engineers to pitch upon proper places for erecting batteries that should enfilade or flank the works of the garrison, without exposing their own men to any severe fire from the enemy.

Again, a crossing of the Rapido River south of Cassino, as already proved, comes under very heavy enfilade artillery fire from German gun positions tucked away at foot of the mountains immediately behind or west of Cassino, and also from foothills of mountains on south of Liri Valley.

As the long waves of amphtracs, each trailing a plume of white spray, raced with their supporters toward the beaches, the fire support battleships, cruisers and destroyers, anchored only 1250 yards off shore, delivered frontal and enfilading fire on beach defenses.

An initial tide line of bodies marked where the sides had clashed, a dreadful smear of bloodied turf showed where two British cannon had enfiladed the enemy, then a further scatter of corpses betrayed the French retreat across the bridge which their engineers had not had time to destroy.

The dangers of attack, counter-attack, mining, spying, and enfilade gave pamphlet battles a metaphorically military appearance.

It was all that the stormers could do to hold their ground, as they were enfiladed by a Vickers-Maxim, and exposed to showers of shrapnel as well as to an incessant rifle fire.

That enabled the Arkansan artillery battery positioned on the far left to bring what almost amounted to enfilade fire on their opponents.

They ripped shots in response, an enfilading fire along the footwalk itself!

In order to facilitate this operation, and to enfilade the base of the building, the upper stories projected several feet beyond the lower in the manner usual to blockhouses, and pieces of wood filled the apertures cut in the log flooring, which were intended as loops and traps.

The guns were to cover the various attacks, and if possible gain a position from which the trenches might be enfiladed.

True, the British would have destroyed some of the larger guns, but the barrels could be mounted on new carriages and re sited behind the vast bastions so that the attackers, if they even succeeded in climbing up to the breach, would be enfiladed by cannon fire.

Riflemen, sent by Frederickson on to the western rampart, cleared the water bastion and, leaning in its cannon embrasures, enfiladed the ladders.

Skandar, Zalzan Kavol, who was the chief of his guards, shouting and waving his four arms officiously about, and the men and women in their impressive green-and-gold uniforms emerging from their floaters and forming a living enfilade to hold back the gaping populace, and the royal musicians setting up the royal anthem, and much more like that, until at last Sleet and Tunigorn came to the royal floater and opened its royal doors to allow the Coronal and his consort to step forth into the golden warmth of the day.