[fil-uh p]

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

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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for fillip

boost, charge, tap, flip, incentive, excite

Examples from the Web for fillip

Historical Examples of fillip

  • And doubtless some break in the monotony gives a fillip of pleasure.



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


    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

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


(tr) to stimulate or excite
(tr) to strike or project sharply with a fillip
(intr) to make a fillip

Word Origin for fillip

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

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