File, Phial or Faille

Photo of author


File, phial and faille are all words that are pronounced in the same way but are spelled differently and have different meanings. They are homophones. We will examine the meanings of the words file, phial and faille, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

File may mean 1.) a cardboard envelope or box where papers, photos and documents are kept 2.) the contents of a cardboard envelope or box such as papers, photos and documents 3.) the organizing of an envelope or box with papers, photos and documents 4.) a data set that is grouped together 5.) a small implement used to shape fingernails 6.) a rasping tool used to smooth metal or wood 7.) the act of shaping fingernails or metal or wood with a rasping tool 8.) a line of things or people, one behind another 9.) to arrange in a line of things or people, one behind another. File is used as a noun or a verb, related words are files, filed, filing. The word file is derived from the French word file, meaning row.

A phial is a small, glass, tube-shaped container used to hold a liquid. A phial may hold a potion, medicine or tincture. The word phial is derived from the Greek word phialē, which describes a flask.

Faille is a light, ribbed, woven fabric often used in outer clothing. Originally, faille was made from silk. The word faille is taken from the French, originally meaning a veil or hood.


“When you seize material from here in Queensland it can depict children from all over the world and if you don’t have a vital connection to other countries to know whether the file was already known or being investigated or identified, then you can waste precious time,” she said. (The Sydney Morning Herald)

I eventually pick a pair of soft leather slippers, then lose the run of myself and add azure Moroccan embroidered shirts, a phial of argan oil, a kaftan for my daughter, and a too-cute set of embroidered pyjamas for a little nephew. (The Irish Independent)

They used a rich, structured off-white silk faille fabric with an off-the-shoulder neckline and a line of taffeta-covered buttons stretching down the train. (The Los Altos Town Crier)