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


a juicy fillet of beef


He carefully filleted the fish with a sharp knife.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Rockfish and cod are available as fillets for $9.95/pound and $8.95/pound. Steve Edwards, Anchorage Daily News, "Here’s what will be at farmers markets over Labor Day weekend," 29 Aug. 2019 Also, fillets should be washed thoroughly with drinking water. Erin Hardy,, "Health advisory issued for Duckett Reservoir in Laurel due to blue green algae," 21 Aug. 2019 But the fact that some of those caught in the trawl have been exporting fillets ready for consumption rather than fresh fish suggests they may be organised, and are trying to evade Norway’s systems of licences and controls for commercial fishing. The Economist, "Norway has haddock enough of fish smugglers," 8 Aug. 2019 Skin-on salmon fillets hold together better during cooking. Washington Post, "For this roasted salmon, skip the butter and go for relish," 29 July 2019 Dip sole fillets into flour making sure both sides are completely covered. Linda Gassenheimer, Twin Cities, "A little touch of France makes this recipe for fish that much better," 15 July 2019 The Red Star Noodles, another Hutong original, delivers tender fillets of halibut, theatrically revealed from under petal-like pieces of red pepper, on a bed of soupy noodles and shiitake mushrooms. Jiayang Fan, The New Yorker, "The Unapologetic Decadence of Hutong," 31 Aug. 2019 With large fang-like teeth, lingcod are marine predators prized for their large fillets of mild, flakey meat. Nick Rahaim,, "Without abalone, spearfishing hooks North Coast anglers," 17 June 2019 But with changing eating habits and the explosion of new barbecue restaurants, Sam gradually expanded and modernized Demetri’s menu, including the addition of low-carb specials featuring chicken fillet, beef brisket, or smoked tuna. Eric Velasco,, "Learn the decades-old secrets of this Homewood barbecue joint," 24 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 Dover sole is presented with the solemnity of a religious rite, arriving via cart on a silver pan, filleted tableside and served with lobster sauce and hazelnuts alongside a crispy disk of black rice inlaid with edamame. Phil Vettel,, "Triple-threat dining: Aboyer and Silencieux join George Trois for a Winnetka trifecta," 5 Aug. 2019 But still, hoping to reduce any riverine poisons in the fish, which was pulled from a stretch full of rusty shopping carts, stinky muck and copious garbage, Jubilado meticulously bled and filleted his catch immediately after netting it. Jesse Pearson,, "Fly fishing for ‘sewer salmon’ in the L.A. River," 11 July 2019 The two officers also found more than 70 bags of filleted panfish. Micah Walker, Detroit Free Press, "Gladwin fisherman caught with more than 1,400 panfish in garage," 22 Aug. 2019 Our children and neighbors’ kids flocked to its sides to learn to fillet fish. Popular Mechanics, "A Homesteading Necessity: The Neighborhood Workbench," 30 June 2019 McDonald has proposed that the leftovers after the fish are filleted be used as bait. Andrew Hetherington, National Geographic, "Maine is running out of lobster bait. Is salmon the answer?," 1 May 2019 Yes, there’s a perfect way of roasting a chicken, filleting fish, of doing all these things. Rachel King, Fortune, "Queer Eye’s Antoni Porowski on Netflix, Social Media, and Opening a Restaurant," 30 June 2019 There will be flowers, singing, men and women in white robes, and filleted human corpses flopping about. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "Midsommar Loses Its Plot Under a Sinister Midnight Sun," 27 June 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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Statistics for fillet

Last Updated

8 Oct 2019

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 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

Comments on fillet

What made you want to look up fillet? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to fake an opponent out of position

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