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[fil-uh p] /ˈfɪl əp/
verb (used with object)
to strike with the nail of a finger snapped from the end of the thumb.
to tap or strike smartly.
to drive by or as by a fillip:
Anticipation filliped his passion.
verb (used without object)
to make a fillip with the fingers.
an act or instance of filliping; a smart tap or stroke.
anything that tends to rouse, excite, or revive; a stimulus:
Praise is an excellent fillip for waning ambition.
Origin of fillip
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English philippe to make a signal or sound with thumb and right forefinger; expressive word of uncertain orig; cf. flip1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for fillip
Historical Examples
  • And doubtless some break in the monotony gives a fillip of pleasure.

    Hiero Xenophon
  • It was just a fillip to my enjoyment, as I looked on and off my page alternately.

    Daisy Elizabeth Wetherell
  • He has given a fillip to existence, loath as I am to acknowledge it.

    The Prairie Mother Arthur Stringer
  • Corrupting a Legislature is not something a man may do with a fillip of his finger and thumb.

    Frenzied Finance Thomas W. Lawson
  • She knew that it wanted but this fillip to carry her through.

    The Merry-Go-Round Carl Van Vechten
  • Eat, drink, play; all other human joys are not worth a fillip.'

  • And the baron with a fillip of the finger made this toy whirl round.

  • The common parent was given a fillip of a contemptuous thumb and finger.

    A Man of Two Countries Alice Harriman
  • Vaucorbeil watched him, then, with a fillip, knocked off his cap.

    Bouvard and Pcuchet Gustave Flaubert
  • A fillip to the wheel of her fate was given as she and Ellis went up the hill.

    The Barrier

    Allen French
British Dictionary definitions for fillip


something that adds stimulation or enjoyment
the action of holding a finger towards the palm with the thumb and suddenly releasing it outwards to produce a snapping sound
a quick blow or tap made by a finger snapped in this way
(transitive) to stimulate or excite
(transitive) to strike or project sharply with a fillip
(intransitive) to make a fillip
Word Origin
C15 philippe, of imitative origin
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
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Word Origin and History for fillip

mid-15c., philippen "to flip something with the fingers, snap the fingers," possibly of imitative origin. As a noun, from 1520s, fyllippe.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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