Definition of fillip in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈfiləp/


1Something that acts as a stimulus or boost to an activity: the halving of the automobile tax would provide a fillip to sales
More example sentences
  • This is expected to give a fillip to the construction activity, slackened by the increased cost of materials.
  • This will give a fillip to the local labour market and encourage people to consume judiciously.
  • It should be a fillip to all scorers that a scorer has finally received an honour.
stimulus, stimulation, boost, incentive, impetus;
tonic, spur, push, aid, help
informal shot in the arm
2 archaic A movement made by bending the last joint of a finger against the thumb and suddenly releasing it; a flick of the finger: the Prince, by a fillip, made some of the wine fly in Oglethorpe’s face
2.1A slight smart stroke or tap: she began to give him dainty fillips on the nose with a soft forepaw

verb (fillips, filliping, filliped)

[with object] archaic
1Propel (a small object) with a flick of the finger: our aforesaid merchant filliped a nut sharply against his bullying giant
1.1Strike (someone or something) slightly and smartly: he filliped him over the nose
1.2Stimulate or urge (someone or something): pour, that the draught may fillip my remembrance


Late Middle English (in the sense 'make a fillip with the fingers'): symbolic; compare with flick, flip1.

  • Back in the Middle Ages fillip meant simply ‘a flick of the finger’, and probably came into use because the sound was felt to represent the movement. Flip (mid 16th century) is probably a shortening, expanded in turn in the early 17th century to form flippant.

Words that rhyme with fillip


For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: fil·lip

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.