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Definition: Acting as a stimulus or boost to an activity.

Pronunciation: Fill-ihp


In Middle English the word philippe or filippen meant to make a sound like a snap (ie with your thumb and middle finger).  The modern day verb usage of fillip means to propel something with a flick of one’s fingers.  However, the noun usage gradually moved towards a definition meaning something small or a trifle.  In the eighteenth century it moved into its current meaning as a stimulus.

Why this word?

Who doesn’t need a little boost occasionally?  Coffee, chocolate, whatever works for you.  Instead of complaining about the midafternoon doldrums, simply say that you need a fillip to complete your work satisfactorily.  It makes more sense than saying you need a Phillip to complete your work satisfactorily, but to the layman that’s what it’s sure to sound like, thus providing you with an opportunity to educate someone and show off your impressive vocabulary.  That sound like a lot of reasons to know this word.

How to use the word fillip in a sentence?

“Money would provide quite the appropriate fillip to remedy the situation.”

“It was just the added fillip that the market needed today.”

“The smell acted as a fillip to my appetite, leaving me extremely hungry.”


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Written by Kate Fulton

Kate Fulton has a bachelor’s degree in classics and psychology from the University of Massachusetts and is working on a library science degree from Simmons College. She has always been fascinated by words- their usage, spelling, and etymology. Kate may be one of the few people who enjoyed the verbal section of the SAT. Yes, she is a word geek. Currently she bores her husband and young daughter with her love of vocabulary.


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