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

Noun a juicy fillet of beef Verb He carefully filleted the fish with a sharp knife.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The skinning blade and gut hook blades are stiff while the fillet blade has a nice flex to it. Matt Foster, Outdoor Life, "The Best Knives of SHOT Show 2020," 31 Jan. 2020 Given a kilo of glass eels contains 3,000 fish that, once grown, will yield fillets worth a total of over €25,000, the result has been a predictable boom in eel smuggling. The Economist, "The mysterious life and times of eels," 18 Dec. 2019 Headed and gutted whole fish make up 41% of the value, with fillets at 20%. Anchorage Daily News, "Fish and Game unveils playing cards filled with facts about Alaska rockfish," 17 Dec. 2019 These methods are far easier than trying to time your fillet frying and master your fish flip. Naomi Tomky, Fortune, "5 Seafood Lessons I Learned From Writing a Cookbook," 16 Nov. 2019 Other recommendations from the state for safely eating fish include eating smaller fish, eating a variety of species, and to only eat the skinless fillet or meat portion of fish. Joseph Geha, The Mercury News, "New safety guidelines issued for eating fish from Coyote Lake," 13 Aug. 2019 Returning to deep-fried territory -- an area of expertise here -- finish your savory tasting with a small catfish fillet, crisp and succulent all at once, one delightfully crunchy hush puppy, and a piece of simply perfect batter-fried chicken. Beth Segal, cleveland, "Equal opportunity dining: Golden Corral rounds up fine food at affordable prices," 23 Jan. 2020 Slide fish spatula along underside of fillets and transfer to individual plates or serving platter, leaving skin behind; discard skin. Washington Post, "For this roasted salmon, skip the butter and go for relish," 29 July 2019 An appetizer of pickled herring — three large fillets, rolled up, skewered, and propped on end amid a zingy Hungarian sauce of tomato, onion, and paprika — was sufficiently sumptuous to convert the herring skeptics at the table. Rand Richards Cooper,, "Review: At Staropolska in New Britain, huge portions of hearty authentic Polish fare, great for a cold winter night," 13 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Here’s a linguini with salmon cream sauce recipe that makes use of the leftover, extra meat after filleting a fish. Matthew Every, Outdoor Life, "8 Wild Recipes to Recreate the First Thanksgiving," 26 Nov. 2019 Next, find the bird’s breast bone with your knife tip and start filleting away the breast. Alex Robinson, Outdoor Life, "How to Butcher a Duck," 27 Dec. 2019 Duck hearts Hamburger buns Butter Chicken stock Balsamic Vinegar Salt Pepper Bacon Pluck the duck breasts, fillet them out and set aside. Joe Genzel, Outdoor Life, "Cook Wild Duck Like a Real Chef (While Drinking Bourbon in Camp)," 3 Jan. 2020 Defense Two months after flustering Jared Goff, they were filleted by the Rams QB, who threw for 323 yards and two TDs on a series of rollout passes and screens., "Game grades from the 49ers’ 34-31 win over the Rams," 21 Dec. 2019 Choose from shrimp, fish (whole and fillet), crab, and more, fished straight from the Gulf or imported from around the world. Reviewed Staff And Laura Jazmin Tolliver, USA TODAY, "Holiday gift guide: 10 unique, oh-so-Florida picks for your friends and family," 4 Dec. 2019 This is the most fit person in the history of civilization’ they’d get filleted for it. Washington Post, "Can we talk about the senior citizens running for president and how they try to look younger?," 6 Nov. 2019 The staff will not fillet the fish for you, as some restaurants do. Sheryl Julian,, "At Short & Main in Gloucester, the kitchen excels at many things, including local fish, roasted whole," 30 July 2019 An anonymous tip to Texas Game Wardens uncovered multiple people who were catching, killing and filleting endangered sea turtles on South Padre Island, officials said. Michelle Iracheta, Houston Chronicle, "GRAPHIC PHOTOS: Suspects killed and filleted endangered species of turtles, officials say," 26 Aug. 2019

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

Noun and Verb

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

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Time Traveler for fillet

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for fillet

Last Updated

12 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fillet.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for fillet


How to pronounce fillet (audio) How to pronounce fillet (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of fillet

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a piece or slice of boneless meat or fish


How to pronounce fillet (audio)

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

: to cut (meat or fish) into fillets


fil·​let | \ ˈfi-lət How to pronounce fillet (audio) , fi-ˈlā \

Kids Definition of fillet

: a piece of boneless meat or fish


fil·​let | \ ˈfil-ət How to pronounce fillet (audio) \

Medical Definition of fillet

: a band of anatomical fibers specifically : lemniscus

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More from Merriam-Webster on fillet

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fillet

Spanish Central: Translation of fillet

Nglish: Translation of fillet for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about fillet

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