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A sterling dish, in filigree

Alternative forms[edit]


From French filigrane, from Italian filigrana, from Latin fīlum (thread) + grānum (grain)


  • (UK, US) IPA(key): /ˈfɪl.ɪ.ɡɹiː/
  • (file)


filigree (countable and uncountable, plural filigrees)

  1. A delicate and intricate ornamentation made from gold or silver (or sometimes other metal) twisted wire.
    • 1844, Robert Browning, "The Labratory":
      To carry pure death in an earring, a casket,
      A signet, a fan-mount, a filigree basket!
  2. A design resembling such intricate ornamentation.
    • 1848, William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair, Chapter 1:
      But why speak about her? It is probable that we shall not hear of her again from this moment to the end of time, and that when the great filigree iron gates are once closed on her, she and her awful sister will never issue therefrom into this little world of history.



filigree (third-person singular simple present filigrees, present participle filigreeing, simple past and past participle filigreed)

  1. (transitive) To decorate something with intricate ornamentation made from gold or silver twisted wire.