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See also: Fillip



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. At first, the literal sense was extended to “something of small importance; a trifle” (“the rest is not worth a fillip with the finger”), then to a short space of time (the time it would take to flick a finger, as in “the 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, come to dominate.



fillip (plural fillips)

  1. (archaic) A flick; the act of releasing the index finger from the hold of a thumb with a snap.
  2. 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.



fillip (third-person singular simple present fillips, present participle filliping, simple past and past participle filliped)

  1. (transitive) To strike or project with the nail of a finger snapped from the end of the thumb; flick.
    • Shakespeare: Troilus and Cressida 4.5.45
      You fillip me o' the head.
  2. (transitive) To tap or strike smartly.
  3. (transitive) To make a fillip; drive by or as by a fillip; stimulate; excite; whet.
    The spicy aroma filliped my appetite.
    • 1851, Herman Melville, Moby Dick, chapter 40
      Grand snoozing to-night, maty; fat night for that. I mark this in our old Mogul’s wine; it’s quite as deadening to some as filliping to others.
  4. To snap; to project quickly.
    • Tylor
      the use of the elastic switch to fillip small missiles with

Related terms[edit]