Definition of fillip
- filliped him on the nose
- fillip crumbs off the table
- with this to fillip his spirits
- —Robert Westerby
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
used a splash of orange-flavored liqueur to fillip the otherwise ordinary cranberry sauce
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.
First Known Use: 15th centurySee Words from the same year
a structural fillip that will add much to the appearance of the building
lent a fillip of danger to the sport
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.
: an added part or feature that makes something more interesting or exciting
Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for fillip
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