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

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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" (1567) and "flicking" (1629). 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


used a splash of orange-flavored liqueur to fillip the otherwise ordinary cranberry sauce


a structural fillip that will add much to the appearance of the building lent a fillip of danger to the sport
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Yet two decades on, the film has become a fillip for internet trolls. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, "The Gig Economy Is Under Attack, But Not for the First Time—Data Sheet," 12 Sep. 2019 China pepped up its economy with faster credit growth and other fillips to spending. The Economist, "Crude thinkingWhy the oil price is so high," 18 Jan. 2018 The response from creditors is a fillip to the government of left-wing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras which is trailing rival conservatives in opinion polls ahead of a general election next year. Raf Casert, The Seattle Times, "Greece: Creditors approve U-turn on pension cuts," 21 Nov. 2018 Image Their arrival provides a welcome fillip for the British economy that’s expected to be bruised by its departure from the European Union. New York Times, "Silicon Valley’s Giants Take Their Talent Hunt to Cambridge," 3 July 2018 Moody’s Investors Service said last month that any boost will be limited and short-lived, well short of the fillip provided by the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, which cost a record $50 billion. Olga Tanas,, "Putin's $11 Billion World Cup May Bring Russia Little Cheer," 14 June 2018 Their arrival provides a welcome fillip for the British economy that’s expected to be bruised by its departure from the European Union. Tory Newmyer, Washington Post, "The Finance 202: Republican candidates in key Senate races struggle with Trump tariffs," 5 July 2018 This year’s competition will be a fillip for Vladimir Putin’s kleptocratic regime. The Economist, "For all its faults, the World Cup in Russia is worth celebrating," 9 June 2018 Having about half of the IPO in mainland China—as was initially hoped—would have been a big fillip for the new CDRs. Jacky Wong, WSJ, "Xiaomi Will Have to Dial Down Valuation Hopes," 19 June 2018

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.

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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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Time Traveler for fillip

The first known use of fillip was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for fillip



English Language Learners Definition of fillip

: an added part or feature that makes something more interesting or exciting

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to be made up of

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