• synonyms


[fil-it; usually fi-ley for 1, 10]
See more synonyms for fillet on Thesaurus.com
  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.
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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.
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Also filet (for defs 1, 10).

Origin of fillet

1300–50; Middle English filet < Anglo-French, Middle French, equivalent to fil thread + -et -et
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for fillet

fish, slice, meat, ridge, garland, molding, wreath, crown, band, tape, ribbon, strip, chaplet, snood, headband, bandeau, listel

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
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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
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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.

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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.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.