1 a : to strike by holding the nail of a finger against the ball of the thumb and then suddenly releasing it from that position
b : to make a filliping motion with
2 : to project quickly by or as if by a filliping motion : snap
3 : to urge on : stimulate
As their parents finished up dinner, the two boys entertained themselves at the table by filliping crumbs into an overturned cup.
"He leaves behind a business … which senior sources say will deliver record pre-tax profits in the region of [euros] 30 million this year, filliped by strong fundraising and private client business and surging stock markets." — Róisín Burke, The Sunday Business Post (Ireland), 7 Dec. 2014
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.
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Name That Synonym
What 4-letter word is a synonym of fillip that can mean "to stimulate" or "to sharpen by rubbing on or with something"?VIEW THE ANSWER
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