filigree

noun
fil·​i·​gree | \ ˈfi-lə-ˌgrē How to pronounce filigree (audio) \

Definition of filigree

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : ornamental work especially of fine wire of gold, silver, or copper applied chiefly to gold and silver surfaces a headband decorated with silver filigree
2a : ornamental openwork of delicate or intricate design
b : a pattern or design resembling such openwork a filigree of frost
c : ornamentation, embellishment writings … heavy with late Victorian filigree— Jack Beatty

filigree

verb
filigreed; filigreeing

Definition of filigree (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to adorn with or as if with filigree

Illustration of filigree

Illustration of filigree

Noun

filigree 2a

In the meaning defined above

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Did You Know?

Ornamental work formerly made with grains or beads is called filigree. It comes from an Italian word made from the Latin words for thread and grain. Today filigree is usually of fine wire of gold, silver, or copper, and is used chiefly to decorate gold and silver surfaces. Filigree can also apply to any ornamental openwork of delicate or intricate design or to a pattern or design resembling such openwork.

Examples of filigree in a Sentence

Noun

a surface decorated with filigree and pearls

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The interior features distressed wood, Western-style filigree metal and perforated leather seats. Dallas News, "This round in Truck Wars goes to the 2020 Dodge Ram 1500 diesel," 23 Aug. 2019 The interior features distressed wood, Western-style filigree metal and perforated leather seats. Dallas News, "This round in Truck Wars goes to the 2020 Dodge Ram 1500 diesel," 23 Aug. 2019 The interior features distressed wood, Western-style filigree metal and perforated leather seats. Dallas News, "This round in Truck Wars goes to the 2020 Dodge Ram 1500 diesel," 23 Aug. 2019 The interior features distressed wood, Western-style filigree metal and perforated leather seats. Dallas News, "This round in Truck Wars goes to the 2020 Dodge Ram 1500 diesel," 23 Aug. 2019 The interior features distressed wood, Western-style filigree metal and perforated leather seats. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, "Ram 1500 diesel delivers whisper-quiet power and class-leading towing," 20 Aug. 2019 The first dozen were modest, just the name of the winning team and year, gold filigree, a diamond or two. Rich Cohen, Harper's magazine, "The Wood Chipper," 19 Aug. 2019 Yet that’s exactly what’s made Drivin N Cryin one of the most intriguing underdog bands of the last 35 years: their sound is equal parts humbucker thunderstroke and acoustic filigree. Matt Wake | Mwake@al.com, al.com, "Drivin N Cryin is still going ‘Straight to Hell’," 11 June 2019 There’s an appealing rasp to Bo Hansen’s singing, a kind of wearied soulfulness that fights with the surrounding din, which is driven by the kaleidoscopic organ filigree of Mary McKane. Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader, "A pair of new acts on Chicago’s Trouble in Mind imprint update scrappy 90s indie rock with shaggy pop melodies," 29 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Another helpful move was using what Bugatti calls filigree side view mirrors, which let air pass through them. Alex Davies, WIRED, "Want to Burn $9 Million to Go 236 MPH? Try the New Bugatti," 19 Aug. 2019 In contrast to the historic skyscraper’s filigreed crown of flying buttresses and pinnacles, the top of the new one would consist of curving glass walls extending beyond the building’s occupied floors. Blair Kamin And Ryan Ori, chicagotribune.com, "Developers plan city's second-tallest skyscraper next to new Tribune Tower condos," 16 Apr. 2018 The Mulsanne is a large luxury superliner of Bentley refinement and filigree that work flawlessly as luxurious separators from the competition, mainly the Rolls-Royce Phantom and Mercedes-Maybach S600. Mark Maynard, sandiegouniontribune.com, "2017 Bentley Mulsanne: A battle hymn of tradition and stoic provenance," 11 Aug. 2017 St. Petersburg is a museum city, its gold-filigreed heart pulsing with tsarist palaces, Baroque churches, and Art Nouveau mansions. Sophie Pinkham, New Republic, "How a Russian Street Art Museum Defies Kremlin Censors," 3 July 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'filigree.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of filigree

Noun

1693, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1831, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for filigree

Noun and Verb

modification of French filigrane, from Italian filigrana, from Latin filum + granum grain — more at corn

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Learn More about filigree

Statistics for filigree

Last Updated

15 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for filigree

The first known use of filigree was in 1693

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More Definitions for filigree

filigree

noun

English Language Learners Definition of filigree

: decoration that consists of delicate and complicated designs made of fine gold or silver wire

filigree

noun
fil·​i·​gree | \ ˈfi-lə-ˌgrē How to pronounce filigree (audio) \

Kids Definition of filigree

: decoration made of fine wire a jewelry box with gold filigree

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More from Merriam-Webster on filigree

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with filigree

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for filigree

Spanish Central: Translation of filigree

Nglish: Translation of filigree for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about filigree

Comments on filigree

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