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philopena

[fil-uh-pee-nuh]
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noun
  1. a custom, presumably of German origin, in which two persons share the kernels of a nut and determine that one shall receive a forfeit from the other at a later time upon the saying of a certain word or the performance of a certain action.
  2. the thing shared.
  3. the forfeit paid.
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Also fillipeen.

Origin of philopena

1830–40, Americanism; earlier philippina < Dutch philippine < German Vielliebchen, diminutive of viellieb very dear; in earlier form viellieb was taken as proper name Philippe Philip and -chen was made into feminine suffix -ina, giving a woman's name; in later form the word was Anglicized along pseudo-classical lines (cf. philo-, penal)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for philopena

Historical Examples

  • I owe him a philopena, and that would have been a splendid way to pay it.

    Tabitha at Ivy Hall

    Ruth Alberta Brown

  • This afternoon Aunt and I hunted all over town for philopena presents.

    Polly the Pagan

    Isabel Anderson

  • I wish to thank him for my philopena, which came late last night.

    Horace Chase

    Constance Fenimore Woolson

  • We'll have something better than that, Miss Ruth—a philopena.

    Horace Chase

    Constance Fenimore Woolson

  • O, pouted Luella, I dont suppose that meant anything either, for I caught him in a philopena on the way home that day.

    Aunt Crete's Emancipation

    Grace Livingston Hill