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From Middle English filet, vylette, felet, filette, flette, from Old French filet, diminutive of fil (thread), from Latin fīlum (thread).



fillet (plural fillets)

  1. (now rare) A headband; a ribbon or other band used to tie the hair up, or keep a headdress in place, or for decoration.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, I.iii:
      In secret shadow, farre from all mens sight: / From her faire head her fillet she undight, / And laid her stole aside.
    • 1713, Alexander Pope, “Windsor-Forest. []”, in The Works of Mr. Alexander Pope, volume I, London: [] W[illiam] Bowyer, for Bernard Lintot, [], published 1717, OCLC 43265629:
      A fillet binds her hair.
    • 1970, John Glassco, Memoirs of Montparnasse, Mew York 2007, p. 42:
      She was talking of Raymond Duncan, a walking absurdity who dressed in an ancient handwoven Greek costume and wore his hair in long braids reaching to his waist, adding, on ceremonial occasions, a fillet of bay-leaves.
  2. A thin strip of any material, in various technical uses.
  3. (construction) A heavy bead of waterproofing compound or sealant material generally installed at the point where vertical and horizontal surfaces meet.
  4. (engineering, drafting, CAD) A rounded relief or cut at an edge, especially an inside edge, added for a finished appearance and to break sharp edges.
  5. A strip or compact piece of meat or fish from which any bones and skin and feathers have been removed.
  6. (Britain) A premium cut of meat, especially beef, taken from below the lower back of the animal, considered to be lean and tender; also called tenderloin.
    fillet steak
  7. (architecture) A thin featureless moulding/molding used as separation between broader decorative mouldings.
  8. (architecture) The space between two flutings in a shaft.
  9. (heraldry) An ordinary equal in breadth to one quarter of the chief, to the lowest portion of which it corresponds in position.
  10. The thread of a screw.
  11. A colored or gilded border.
    • 1911, George Sterling, The Swimmers[1]:
      Fairer than gods and naked as the moon, The foamy fillets at their ankles strewn Less marble-white than they
  12. The raised moulding around the muzzle of a gun.
  13. (woodworking) Any scantling smaller than a batten.
  14. (anatomy) A fascia; a band of fibres; applied especially to certain bands of white matter in the brain.
  15. The loins of a horse, beginning at the place where the hinder part of the saddle rests.


  • (a boneless cut of meat): filet


  • (rounded outside edge): round

Derived termsEdit


Further readingEdit


fillet (third-person singular simple present fillets, present participle filleting, simple past and past participle filleted)

  1. (transitive) To slice, bone or make into fillets.
  2. (transitive) To apply, create, or specify a rounded or filled corner to.