from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Milit., a non-commissioned officer who marches behind troops in line, or on the flank when in column, to assist in preserving the formation and alinement.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word file-closer.


  • A file-closer kicked the dog away, but as soon as the man was gone the dog ran back to the body.

    Sharpe's Fortress Cornwell, Bernard 1999

  • But whenever I march with the regiment, my pride is that I lose my individuality, that I am merged, that I become a part of a machine, a mere walking gentleman, a No. 1 or a No. 2, front rank or rear rank, file-leader or file-closer.

    The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 08, No. 45, July, 1861 Various

  • Further, the theory does not meet the needs of the situation, since in the services, as elsewhere, there are not enough better holes to go around, and no man is ready to say that he is good for nothing but life as a file-closer.

    The Armed Forces Officer Department of the Army Pamphlet 600-2 United States. Dept. of Defense

  • Pennsylvania's pavilion, costing forty thousand dollars, or half as much as the United States building, plays the leading grenadier well; but little Delaware, not content with the obscure post of file-closer, swells at the opposite end of the line into dimensions of ninety by seventy-five feet, with a cupola that, if placed at Dover, would be visible from half her territory.

    Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science Volume 17, No. 101, May, 1876 Various

  • He trudged on, file-closer for the front rank and six-feet-one of target, and wondered if he had been a fool after all.

    Stanford Stories Tales of a Young University Will Irwin 1910

  • "There'll be no trouble, I repeat," promised Senator Corson, making himself file-closer.

    All-Wool Morrison Holman Day 1900

  • We had colonels by title whose functions were purely those of the file-closer.

    A Wounded Name Charles King 1888

  • What they could not at all understand was that, once graduated, Mr. Stanley could step down from his high position in the battalion of cadets and become a mere file-closer.

    Starlight Ranch and Other Stories of Army Life on the Frontier Charles King 1888

  • Commissioned a first lieutenant of a regiment that had had a proud record in the regular division of the Army of the Potomac, and had been hurried at the close of the war to the Pacific coast, Nevins had joined at Fort Yuma and served a few weeks 'apprenticeship as a file-closer, just long enough to demonstrate that he knew nothing whatever about soldiering and too much about poker.

    A Wounded Name Charles King 1888

  • The boy came forward, and, wheeling, stood close beside the Colonel, facing General Hampden, like a soldier dressing by his file-closer.

    The Christmas Peace 1908 Thomas Nelson Page 1887


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.