From Middle English philippe, filippen (“to make a sound with right forefinger and thumb, snap”). Origin uncertain. Probably an alteration of Middle English flappen (“to hit, slap, clap, applaud”). More at flap.
A fillip gradually became “something of small importance; a trifle.” “The rest is not worth a fillip with the finger.” And, the word could also express a short space of time (perhaps the time it took to “flick” the finger). “The tortoise..in a fillip of the finger was down in the gardens of Riu Gu.” Only in the 18th and 19th centuries did its current usage, as encouragement or stimulus, tend to dominate.
- IPA: /ˈfɪlɪp/
fillip (plural fillips)
- (archaic) A flick; the act of releasing the index finger from the hold of a thumb with a snap.
- Something that excites or stimulates.
- This measure gave a fillip to the housing market.
- This athlete's victory provided a much-needed fillip for national pride.
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- Japanese: 指を弾く (ゆびをはじく)
- (transitive) To strike or project with the nail of a finger snapped from the end of the thumb; flick.
- (transitive) To tap or strike smartly.
- (transitive) To make a fillip; drive by or as by a fillip; stimulate; excite; whet.
- The spicy aroma filliped my appetite.