fil·let | \ˈfi-lət, in sense 2b also fi-ˈlā, ˈfi-(ˌ)lā \
variants: or less commonly filet \fi-ˈlā, ˈfi-(ˌ)lā \

Definition of fillet 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a ribbon or narrow strip of material used especially as a headband

2a : a thin narrow strip of material

b : a piece or slice of boneless meat or fish especially : the tenderloin of beef

3a : a concave junction formed where two surfaces meet (as at an angle)

b : a strip that gives a rounded appearance to such a junction also : a strip to reinforce the corner where two surfaces meet

4 : a narrow flat architectural member:

a : a flat molding separating others

b : the space between two flutings (see flute entry 1 sense 3) in a shaft


fil·let | \ˈfi-lət, in sense 2 also fi-ˈlā, ˈfi-(ˌ)lā\
filleted; filleting; fillets

Definition of fillet (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to bind, furnish, or adorn with or as if with a fillet

2 : to cut into fillets

Examples of fillet in a Sentence


a juicy fillet of beef


He carefully filleted the fish with a sharp knife.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

About 15 years ago, my sister turned me on to the existence of the Sea Dog, which is a deep-fried fish fillet on a hot dog bun. Carla Lalli Music, Bon Appetit, "The Red Rooster Is Where I Always Want to Be," 6 June 2018 Assemble fish tacos by placing one fish fillet on each corn tortilla. San Antonio Express-News, "Recipe: Blackened Fish Tacos," 19 Mar. 2018 Staff say the grey-coloured 'tail' is actually a 'blood vessel' in their chicken breast fillet. Tom Kershaw, Fox News, "McDonald's customer claims she found dead mouse in McChicken," 7 June 2018 On Fridays during Lent, churches and community groups fry thousands of fish fillets to raise money for good causes. Ann Maloney,, "Lenten Fish Fry Guide 2018: Find one in your neighborhood," 14 Feb. 2018 The fillet, at $36, is customized with personal favorites, such as mushroom and onions, bleu cheese and Hickory Char and Gorgonzola sauce. Patrick Z. Mcgavin, Daily Southtown, "Guide to outdoor dining in Chicago suburbs: Public Landing in Lockport," 8 July 2018 The fork allows you to remove the anchovy fillets without having to rub your hands all over them, which is generally a pretty good way to keep your hands smelling nice. Alex Delany, Bon Appetit, "The Best Anchovies Don't Come in a Tin, People," 25 June 2018 In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, salt and pepper. Rub the mixture all over the salmon fillet. Chris Ross,, "Salmon with rub is easy weeknight meal," 21 May 2018 That way, when Whyte put the fillets into an egg batter, the batter adhered to the fish. Steve Waters, miamiherald, "Even with an unexpected catch, fishing in South Florida will give you a delicious meal | Miami Herald," 4 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The price difference between the two filleting tools is not significantly different. Shannon Tompkins, Houston Chronicle, "Fillet blade a cut above the rest for anglers," 6 June 2018 The fish—filleted tilapia in this case—is prepared in a manner that gives it an almost silky, soft texture. Jim Thurman, Los Angeles Magazine, "A China Chain’s Pricey Bowls of Sauerkraut Fish Soup Have Landed in the SGV," 24 May 2018 The aircraft are already parked in the foothills of the French Pyrenees, where they will be filleted over the next two years by a specialist company and sold in parts. Tom Lavell,, "Two Unwanted A380s Are Moving Closer to the Scrapheap," 5 June 2018 The sushi festival hosted by Fanoomies Entertainment advertises tuna filleting demonstrations, door prizes and all-you-can eat Japanese food for just $20 as well as VIP packages that stretch up to $300. Benjy Egel, sacbee, "Sushi Fest has thousands of interested foodies. But some fear the event is fake," 31 May 2018 Fish are safe to eat as long as the flesh (only) is filleted away from the skin and washed. Bill Monroe,, "Free-Fishing weekend approaches in Oregon," 25 May 2018 The fish has to be handled carefully when caught and when filleted, but for customers in a restaurant or at the seafood counter of their local grocery, lionfish is no more of a threat than salmon or flounder or cod. Ben Lowy, Smithsonian, "The Lionfish Have Invaded, But a Ragtag Army of Divers and Chefs Are Fighting Back," 23 May 2018 El Piquin offers chicken, beef or shrimp fajitas, or try the fish fillet ranchero or fish tacos. Bud Kennedy, star-telegram, "Tortas, huaraches and green sauce at a little cafe in Grapevine | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 16 May 2018 After mate James Baker filleted all the fish, Utter invited everyone to Shenanigans Eastside to enjoy the day’s catch. Steve Waters, miamiherald, "Even with an unexpected catch, fishing in South Florida will give you a delicious meal | Miami Herald," 4 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fillet.' 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 fillet


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1604, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for fillet


Middle English filet, from Anglo-French, diminutive of fil thread, from Latin filum — more at file


see fillet entry 1

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Statistics for fillet

Last Updated

8 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for fillet

The first known use of fillet was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for fillet



English Language Learners Definition of fillet

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a piece or slice of boneless meat or fish



English Language Learners Definition of fillet (Entry 2 of 2)

: to cut (meat or fish) into fillets


fil·let | \ˈfi-lət, fi-ˈlā\

Kids Definition of fillet

: a piece of boneless meat or fish


fil·let | \ˈfil-ət \

Medical Definition of fillet 

: a band of anatomical fibers specifically : lemniscus

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Comments on fillet

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