- 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.
- the thing shared.
- the forfeit paid.
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
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
I wish to thank him for my philopena, which came late last night.
We'll have something better than that, Miss Ruth—a philopena.
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