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From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
File \File\ (f[imac]l), n. [AS. fe['o]l; akin to D. viji, OHG. f[imac]la, f[imac]hala, G. feile, Sw. fil, Dan. fiil, cf. Icel. [thorn][=e]l, Russ. pila, and Skr. pi[,c] to cut out, adorn; perh. akin to E. paint.] 1. A steel instrument, having cutting ridges or teeth, made by indentation with a chisel, used for abrading or smoothing other substances, as metals, wood, etc. [1913 Webster] Note: A file differs from a rasp in having the furrows made by straight cuts of a chisel, either single or crossed, while the rasp has coarse, single teeth, raised by the pyramidal end of a triangular punch. [1913 Webster] 2. Anything employed to smooth, polish, or rasp, literally or figuratively. [1913 Webster] Mock the nice touches of the critic's file. --Akenside. [1913 Webster] 3. A shrewd or artful person. [Slang] --Fielding. [1913 Webster] Will is an old file in spite of his smooth face. --Thackeray. [1913 Webster] Bastard file, Cross file, etc. See under Bastard, Cross, etc. Cross-cut file, a file having two sets of teeth crossing obliquely. File blank, a steel blank shaped and ground ready for cutting to form a file. File cutter, a maker of files. Second-cut file, a file having teeth of a grade next finer than bastard. Single-cut file, a file having only one set of parallel teeth; a float. Smooth file, a file having teeth so fine as to make an almost smooth surface. [1913 Webster]