[ fil-uh-pee-nuh ]

  1. 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.

  2. the thing shared.

  1. 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)

Words Nearby philopena Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use philopena in a sentence