Definition of filigree in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈfiləˌɡrē/
(also filagree)


Ornamental work of fine (typically gold or silver) wire formed into delicate tracery: [as modifier]: delicate silver filigree earrings figurative a wedding cake of gold and white filigree
More example sentences
  • I walked over to the case and looked inside, searching not for shining silver or delicate filigree, but for the simple, wooden cases that characterized her pure, straightforward faith.
  • As his wares were textiles, it was fitting that his breeches were made of something that looked expensive, as was his jewellery: silver filigree bracelets and armlets.
  • Delicate gold filigree entwined itself around her lower arm, wrist, and hand.
tracery, fretwork, latticework, scrollwork, lacework, quilling


Late 17th century (earlier as filigreen, filigrane): from French filigrane, from Italian filigrana (from Latin filum 'thread' + granum 'seed').

  • file from Old English:

    Of the three different words that take the form file in English, the oldest is the word for the smoothing tool, which is Old English. The other two, the folder and the queue, both go back to Latin filum ‘thread’ found also in filament (late 16th century), filigree (late 17th century) which was originally spelt filigrane and formed from filum and granum ‘seed’, and fillet (Middle English) originally a ribbon tied round the head and subsequently used for any long, thin strip. The folder sense, from Late Middle English, comes about because it was originally used of paperwork kept in order by being threaded on string. The line of people, which is late 16th century, comes via French, from the idea of people strung out.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: fil·i·gree

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