Fillip - Philip

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Of the two homophones fillip and Philip, the second is the more common.

  • Philip is a male forename - for more, see the separate article Philip.
  • Fillip can be either a noun or a verb, which appears to be more obsolete.
    • To 'give someone [or something]] a fillip' is 'to help her feel better'; to 'give a fillip' to something is 'to stimulate' it. The Chancellor of the Exchequer can 'give a fillip to' an industry by making its tax position favourable; good news can 'give a fillip to' someone's spirits.
    • In Early Modern English, fillip was also used as a verb. It began by meaning 'to flick something, or someone, with the finger' (more precisely, 'to flick with the top joint of the forefinger by releasing it from the thumb'). What is now called 'tossing a coin' was then 'filliping a coin': the word is etymologically close to 'flip'. It developed to mean any kind of smart strike, as when Shakespeare makes Falstaff emphasize his refusal (in Henry IV Part 2) by saying "If I do, fillip me with a three-man-Beetle." (A 'beetle' in this sense is the heavy rammer used for bedding paving stones in the earth.).