file Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary
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Meaning of “file” in the English Dictionary

"file" in British English

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filenoun

uk   us   /faɪl/

file noun (CONTAINER)

A2 [C or U] any of several different ​types of ​container used to ​storepapers, ​letters, and other ​documents in an ​ordered way, ​especially in an ​office: a ​box/​envelope file secret/​confidential/​personnel files You'll ​find it in the files under "C". We ​keepyourrecords on file for five ​years.
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file noun (WRITTEN RECORD)

[C] written ​records that are ​kept about a ​particularperson or ​subject: The ​police have opened a file onlocalburglaries.

file noun (COMPUTER)

A2 [C] informationstored on a ​computer as one ​unit with one ​name: What's the file ​name? I'm going to ​copy/​save this file.

file noun (LINE)

[C or U] a ​longline of ​people or ​animals, one behind another: They were ​horrified to ​see files ofantsmarching through the ​kitchen. They ​walked in (​single) file (= one behind another).

file noun (TOOL)

[C] a ​thin, ​flat or ​roundedmetaltool with ​roughsurfaces for ​rubbingwooden or ​metalobjects to make them ​smooth or to ​changetheirshape

fileverb

uk   us   /faɪl/

file verb (STORE/RECORD INFORMATION)

[T] to ​storeinformation in a ​careful and ​particular way: We file these ​reports (= put them in a file) undercountry of ​origin. [T] specialized law to ​officiallyrecord something, ​especially in a ​lawcourt: The ​police filed ​charges against the two ​suspects. [T] News reporters file a ​story by ​sending it to ​theiroffice, usually by ​phone, ​email, or other ​electronicmethod: Our ​foreigncorrespondent filed this ​reportearlier today.
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file verb (WALK IN A LINE)

[I usually + adv/prep] to ​walk in a ​line, one behind another: The ​visitors filed through the ​entrance to the ​ticketoffices.

file verb (TOOL)

[I + adv/prep, T] to use a file in ​order to make an ​objectsmooth or to ​changeitsshape: File (down) the ​sharpedges. [+ obj + adj ] The ​surface had been filed ​smooth. She filed her nails.
Phrasal verbs
(Definition of file from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"file" in American English

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filenoun

 us   /fɑɪl/

file noun (COLLECTION)

[C/U] a ​foldedpiece of ​stiffpaper used to ​storepapers, ​letters, or other ​documents in an ​ordered way, esp. in an ​office, or a ​box or ​container in which ​documents are ​stored: [C] You’ll ​find it in the files under C. [U] We ​keepyourrecords on file for five ​years. [C/U] A file in a ​computer is a ​collection of ​informationstored as one ​unit with one ​name: [C] I’m going to ​copy/​save this file.

file noun (LINE)

[C/U] a ​line of ​people or ​animals, one behind another: [U] They ​walked (in) ​single file.

file noun (TOOL)

[C] a usually ​flattool with ​roughsurfaces for ​rubbingobjects to make them ​smooth or to ​changetheirshape

fileverb

 us   /fɑɪl/

file verb (STORE)

[T] to ​storepapers, ​letters, or other ​documents in an ​ordered or ​particular way: We file the ​reports by ​zipcode. [T] To file something can ​mean to make an ​officialrecord of it, or to ​begin a ​legalprocess: to file an ​insuranceclaim to file ​criminalcharges

file verb (WALK IN LINE)

[I always + adv/prep] to ​walk in a ​line, one behind another: The bride’s ​family filed in.

file verb (USE TOOL)

[I/T] to use a ​tool with ​roughsurfaces in ​order to make an ​objectsmooth or to ​changeitsshape: [T] She ​carefully filed her ​nails before ​applyingnailpolish.
(Definition of file from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"file" in Business English

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filenoun [C]

uk   us   /faɪl/
IT a ​collection of ​information that is ​stored on a ​computer as one ​unit under one ​name: text/computer/image file Click on the ​command and a ​box pops up showing how ​big the ​text file is and how ​long it should take to ​save to your hard ​drive.save/create/copy a file It's best to ​save the file to a common ​directory.open/read/view a file You will need Adobe Acrobat ​installed in ​order to ​open the file.write to/edit a file It is necessary to ​designate a ​group of ​people who are ​allowed to ​edit the file.close/delete a file If you ​reboot your ​computer with the startup ​disk in the ​drive, you'll get to a ​prompt from which you can ​delete the file.
a written ​recordkept on a ​person, ​subject, or ​organization: Employees who get an ​award for good ​work have a ​notice of it put in their employee file. The FBI does not keep a file on every ​citizen of the United ​States.refer to/read a file The ​company won't know the ​full details until they have read his file.
a ​container used to ​storepapers and other ​documents together, especially in an ​office: Many ​organizations are doing good ​work around ​policy, but too often it sits forgotten in a file somewhere.
on file kept as ​part of a written ​record on ​paper or on a ​computer: I received an ​acknowledgment from the HR ​department that my ​name was on file. You should keep it on file for future ​reference.

fileverb [T]

uk   us   /faɪl/
to ​storeinformation or ​documents carefully so that they are ​easy to ​find, either in a ​place such as a folder or ​desk, or on a ​computer: The ​effective e-manager will make it ​clear where on the ​system to file ​documents.file sth under sth An ​organization with ​initials in the ​name, eg W H Smith, will be filed under the ​initial, in this ​case W.file sth away It's tempting to file away all the ​paperworkrelating to your ​pension and forget about it.
LAW to ​officiallyrecord something such as a ​complaint: file a lawsuit/a suit/charges He is ​planning to file a ​lawsuit against the ​currentchairman for an ​allegedviolation of a ​clause in his ​contract. file a ​complaint/​claim/​petition
ACCOUNTING to ​officiallysend something such as your ​accounts: Any ​gain or ​loss should be ​reported when you file your ​taxreturn. It was ​found that the ​company had ​failed to file ​accounts at Companies ​House.
(Definition of file from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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“file” in Business English

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