[fil-it; usually fi-ley for 1, 10]


verb (used with object)

Also filet (for defs 1, 10).

Origin of fillet

1300–50; Middle English filet < Anglo-French, Middle French, equivalent to fil thread + -et -et Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for fillet

Contemporary Examples of fillet

Historical Examples of fillet

  • If the leafwork on the helm were tossed up backward, it would hide the fillet.

    Albert Durer

    T. Sturge Moore

  • We'll have peas with the fillet, and potato balls and Brussels sprouts.

    Alice Adams

    Booth Tarkington

  • Fillet a sole and interlard each piece with a bit of anchovy.

  • I would at any time prefer a slice off the fillet of a buffalo to any pheasant.

    The History of Louisiana

    Le Page Du Pratz

  • He remained all day on the sea-shore, his head only held on to his body by a fillet.

    The Phantom World

    Augustin Calmet

British Dictionary definitions for fillet



  1. Also called: fillet steaka strip of boneless meat, esp the undercut of a sirloin of beef
  2. the boned side of a fish
  3. the white meat of breast and wing of a chicken
a narrow strip of any material
a thin strip of ribbon, lace, etc, worn in the hair or around the neck
a narrow flat moulding, esp one between other mouldings
a narrow band between two adjacent flutings on the shaft of a column
Also called: fillet weld a narrow strip of welded metal of approximately triangular cross-section used to join steel members at right angles
heraldry a horizontal division of a shield, one quarter of the depth of the chief
Also called: listel, list the top member of a cornice
anatomy a band of sensory nerve fibres in the brain connected to the thalamusTechnical name: lemniscus
  1. a narrow decorative line, impressed on the cover of a book
  2. a wheel tool used to impress such lines
another name for fairing 1

verb -lets, -leting or -leted (tr)

to cut or prepare (meat or fish) as a fillet
to cut fillets from (meat or fish)
anatomy to surgically remove a bone from (part of the body) so that only soft tissue remains
to bind or decorate with or as if with a fillet
Also (for senses 1–3): filet

Word Origin for fillet

C14: from Old French filet, from fil thread, from Latin fīlum
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 fillet

early 14c., "headband," from Old French filet (12c.) "thread, filament; strip, ligament," diminutive of fil "thread" (see file (v.)). Sense of "cut of meat or fish" is from late 14c., apparently so called because it was prepared by being tied up with a string. As a verb, from c.1600, "to bind with a narrow band;" meaning "to cut in fillets" is from 1846. Related: Filleted; filleting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

fillet in Medicine




A loop of cord or tape used for making traction on a part of the fetus.
A loop-shaped band of fibers, especially the lemniscus.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.