Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To deprive (a plant, tree, or forest) of leaves.
  • transitive v. To cause the leaves of (a plant, tree, or forest) to fall off, especially by the use of chemicals.
  • intransitive v. To lose foliage.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To remove foliage from (one or more plants), most often with a chemical agent.
  • adj. Deprived of leaves; defoliated.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Deprived of leaves, as by their natural fall.
  • transitive v. to cause (a plant) to shed its leaves.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To deprive of leaves; cut or pick off the leaves of.
  • Deprived of leaves; having cast its leaves.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. strip the leaves or branches from
  • adj. deprived of leaves

Etymologies

Late Latin dēfoliāre, dēfoliāt- : Latin dē-, de- + Latin folium, leaf; see bhel-3 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
de- +‎ foliate (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Six months ago, Gary hired a goateed designer to "defoliate" the office,  trucking out all the ficus trees and spanish moss to make room for curved sheets of fiberglass and, as he called it, "negative space."

    Overboard

  • Six months ago, Gary hired a goateed designer to "defoliate" the office, trucking out all the ficus trees and spanish moss to make room for curved sheets of fiberglass and, as he called it, "negative space."

    Overboard

  • It is naturally shrubby and over the winter the wiry framework will defoliate, but I will wait until March to shape it up with the shears.

    Stunning salvias

  • It would seem more appropriate to pull out of Afghanistan and make it abundantly clear that the next time an attack against the US is traceable to folks who were trained or in anyway supported by folks in Afghanistan, we will obliterate Afghanistan and defoliate its opium poppies.

    War Czar for Bush to Keep His Job - The Caucus Blog - NYTimes.com

  • The teabaggers can go defoliate their scrotums, for all I care.

    Think Progress » Fox ‘News’ cheerleads for Tea Party protesters.

  • Metrics such as use of "body counts" and scientific solutions such as using the herbicide Agent Orange to defoliate jungles in which communist guerrillas hid became trademarks of the conflict.

    Vietnam-era Pentagon chief McNamara dead at 93

  • Leonard "Marty" Kardes, 64, suffers disabling neurological problems due to exposure to Agent Orange, a chemical the U.S. military used to defoliate trees in Vietnamese jungles.

    Heroes or Villains?

  • We need to defoliate some of the beans to help them ripen, not in the least the borlotti, who's beans sit in almost total darkness beneath a dense lagging of leaves.

    Here comes the rain (again)

  • This means trees that defoliate have time to renew their sugar stores before future outbreaks.

    Beware of late blight, and report damage

  • Then 1975 sees Operation Condor, in which DEA agents, with the Mexican army, bomb, burn, and defoliate vast acreage of poppy cultivation in Sinaloa, displacing thousands of peasants and wrecking the economy.

    Savages

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