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filigree

[fil-i-gree]
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noun
  1. delicate ornamental work of fine silver, gold, or other metal wires, especially lacy jewelers' work of scrolls and arabesques.
  2. anything very delicate or fanciful: a filigree of frost.
adjective
  1. composed of or resembling filigree.
verb (used with object), fil·i·greed, fil·i·gree·ing.
  1. to adorn with or form into filigree.

Origin of filigree

1685–95; earlier filigreen, variant of filigrain
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for filigree

Historical Examples

  • Some of our filigree glass, it is true, became too elaborate to be beautiful.

    The Story of Glass

    Sara Ware Bassett

  • Those spindles are Persian, while the filigree is more Byzantine than anything else.

  • He remembered the motto curiously worked in filigree of gold.

    Sir Nigel

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • He handed her the filigree necklace she had admired so much.

  • While she was still admiring it, Peggy picked up the filigree necklace.


British Dictionary definitions for filigree

filigree

filagree or fillagree

noun
  1. delicate ornamental work of twisted gold, silver, or other wire
  2. any fanciful delicate ornamentation
adjective
  1. made of or as if with filigree
verb -grees, -greeing or -greed
  1. (tr) to decorate with or as if with filigree
Derived Formsfiligreed, adjective

Word Origin

C17: from earlier filigreen, from French filigrane, from Latin fīlum thread + grānum grain
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for filigree

n.

1690s, shortening of filigreen (1660s), from French filigrane "filigree" (17c.), from Italian filigrana, from Latin filum "thread" (see file (v.)) + granum "grain" (see corn (n.1)). Related: Filigreed.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper