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Definition: Of or pertaining to the color of a dead or faded leaf; dull brown or yellowish brown.


Pronunciation:  Fill-eh-mot


The word filemot began as the French word feuillemorte, which translates to “dead leaf”.  It is comprised of the two words “feuille” (leaf) and “morte” (dead).  It transferred into English as filemot but it is not unusual to find one of its alternate spellings- fillemot, phyliamort, philimot, or foliomort.

Why this word?

It’s the time of year here in New England when the snow is gradually melting, leaving in its place a lot of mud and dead, formerly buried, leaves.  They have made it through the winter but do not hold any of their former, blossoming glory.  It is not an attractive time of year, at least until the buds and blossoms start to sprout from beneath the dead leaves, dull grasses, and barren tree limbs.  I feel this word captures this time of year perfectly- the currently barren state awaiting rebirth in the spring.

How to use the word filemot?

“His eyes, all filemot and pensive, stared at her while weighing the pros and cons of the situation; it was unsettling.”

“The site of the backyard, all filemot with melting snow, tree branches, and dead leaves, impressed upon him the enormity of the task ahead.”

“The long table, its filemot planks overburdened by the heavy platters of food, groaned as the family settled in for Thanksgiving dinner.”


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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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