fil·​ly ˈfi-lē How to pronounce filly (audio)
plural fillies
: a young female horse usually of less than four years
: a young woman : girl

Examples of filly in a Sentence

she's still a filly, so she has plenty of time to decide what she wants to do in life
Recent Examples on the Web The Kentucky Oaks, the race involving only 3-year-old fillies, will occur Friday, May 3. Marina Johnson, The Courier-Journal, 2 Feb. 2024 Warm Heart — a filly that ran second in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Santa Anita in November — was installed as the 9-5 favorite for the Grade 1, $1 million Pegasus Turf, just ahead of 3-1 second choice Integration. Tim Reynolds, USA TODAY, 21 Jan. 2024 The 4-year-old filly is well traveled having finished second on Nov. 4 in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf, followed by a third on Dec. 10 in the Hong Kong Vase. John Cherwa, Los Angeles Times, 28 Jan. 2024 The 4-year-old filly was sitting behind early pacesetter Main Event when Moore angled Warm Heart inside and guided her through a tight opening at the top of the stretch before holding off the late closers. Clark Spencer, Miami Herald, 28 Jan. 2024 The Mosses purchased the big filly in 2005 at a September auction at Keeneland. Bill Dwyre, Los Angeles Times, 31 Dec. 2023 At another farm just a few minutes away, cloned foals and fillies stuck close to mothers that looked nothing like them. Samantha Schmidt, Washington Post, 29 Dec. 2023 The other Grade 1 is the American Oaks, 1 1/4 miles on the turf for 3-year-old fillies. John Cherwa, Los Angeles Times, 25 Dec. 2023 Led by winner Surge Capacity, the four horses Brown shipped in from the East ran 1-2-3-4 in the Grade I Matriarch Stakes — claiming $294,000 of the $300,000 purse in the one-mile turf race for older fillies and mares. Bill Center, San Diego Union-Tribune, 4 Dec. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'filly.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English fyly, from Old Norse fylja; akin to Old English fola foal

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of filly was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near filly

Cite this Entry

“Filly.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


fil·​ly ˈfil-ē How to pronounce filly (audio)
plural fillies
: a young female horse usually less than four years old

More from Merriam-Webster on filly

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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