[fil-it; usually fi-ley for 1, 10]
See more synonyms for fillet on
  1. Cookery.
    1. a boneless cut or slice of meat or fish, especially the beef tenderloin.
    2. a piece of veal or other meat boned, rolled, and tied for roasting.
  2. a narrow band of ribbon or the like worn around the head, usually as an ornament; headband.
  3. any narrow strip, as wood or metal.
  4. a strip of any material used for binding.
  5. Bookbinding.
    1. a decorative line impressed on a book cover, usually at the top and bottom of the back.
    2. a rolling tool for impressing such lines.
  6. Architecture.
    1. Also called list.a narrow flat molding or area, raised or sunk between larger moldings or areas.
    2. a narrow portion of the surface of a column left between adjoining flutes.
  7. Anatomy. lemniscus.
  8. a raised rim or ridge, as a ring on the muzzle of a gun.
  9. Metallurgy. a concave strip forming a rounded interior angle in a foundry pattern.
verb (used with object)
  1. Cookery.
    1. to cut or prepare (meat or fish) as a fillet.
    2. to cut fillets from.
  2. to bind or adorn with or as if with a fillet.
  3. Machinery. to round off (an interior angle) with a fillet.
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. 2018

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
  1. a narrow strip of any material
  2. a thin strip of ribbon, lace, etc, worn in the hair or around the neck
  3. a narrow flat moulding, esp one between other mouldings
  4. a narrow band between two adjacent flutings on the shaft of a column
  5. Also called: fillet weld a narrow strip of welded metal of approximately triangular cross-section used to join steel members at right angles
  6. heraldry a horizontal division of a shield, one quarter of the depth of the chief
  7. Also called: listel, list the top member of a cornice
  8. 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
  9. another name for fairing 1
verb -lets, -leting or -leted (tr)
  1. to cut or prepare (meat or fish) as a fillet
  2. to cut fillets from (meat or fish)
  3. anatomy to surgically remove a bone from (part of the body) so that only soft tissue remains
  4. 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


  1. A loop of cord or tape used for making traction on a part of the fetus.
  2. 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.