fil·​lip | \ ˈfi-ləp How to pronounce fillip (audio) \
filliped; filliping; fillips

Definition of fillip

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to make a filliping motion with
b : to strike or tap with a fillip filliped him on the nose
2 : to project quickly by or as if by a fillip fillip crumbs off the table
3 : stimulate with this to fillip his spirits— Robert Westerby



Definition of fillip (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a blow or gesture made by the sudden forcible straightening of a finger curled up against the thumb
b : a short sharp blow : buffet
2 : something tending to arouse or excite: such as
a : stimulus just the fillip my confidence needed lent a fillip of danger to the sport
b : a trivial addition : embellishment showy fillips of language
c : a significant and often unexpected development : wrinkle plot twists and fillips

Did you know?

Like flip and flick, fillip is considered a phonetic imitation of the sharp release of a curled-up finger aimed to strike something. Language history suggests that people were filliping in the 15th-century, well before they were flipping and flicking. Specifically, fillip describes a strike or gesture made by the sudden straightening of a finger curled up against the thumb—a motion commonly referred to as a flick. It didn't take long before the sensational stinging smartness of filliping was extended to figurative use. "I mark this in our old Mogul's wine; it's quite as deadening to some as filliping to others," observes Herman Melville's Dutch sailor of wine's "stimulating" effect in Moby Dick.

Examples of fillip in a Sentence

Verb used a splash of orange-flavored liqueur to fillip the otherwise ordinary cranberry sauce Noun a structural fillip that will add much to the appearance of the building lent a fillip of danger to the sport
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Counterpoint data also shows that almost all Chinese smartphones sold in India are made in India—a fillip to the Modi’s government’s goal of fashioning India as an electronics manufacturing hub. Megha Mandavia, WSJ, 16 May 2022 Investors will also be keenly looking at the dividend as the carrier’s profit gets a fillip from a faster 5G subscriber net addition in June and cost cutting measures. Shirley Zhao,, 12 Aug. 2021 Adding to the gloom, Summers (rightly) worries about the way that ultra-low interest rates do give a fillip to one type of investment: malinvestment . . . Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, 13 Nov. 2021 Such a move would constitute a fillip to the West but China has already been warm in its diplomatic response to the Taliban. Mike O'sullivan, Forbes, 3 Sep. 2021 Unabating stress levels, mental illness and disease are toxic by-products that linger on as woeful reminders of societies seeking a fillip. Forbes, 8 Sep. 2021 While the return to chart dominance for so many local films is a fillip for the Korean production sector, the weekend was one of the weakest of the summer. Patrick Frater, Variety, 29 Aug. 2021 Congress increased benefits by 15% during the pandemic, though this fillip is set to end in September. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 17 Aug. 2021 Assembled above, the makings of a modern bedroom with a French fillip, the colorations running the full Carnation range. Kelly Allen, House Beautiful, 23 July 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of fillip


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1519, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for fillip


probably of imitative origin

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Cite this Entry

“Fillip.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2022.

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