August 13th, 2013

plaid

Tuesday Word: fillip

Much as it pains me to use numbers in a word community, fillip's list of meanings is greater than my ability to use "also" and five synonyms for "also" in the same entry without it looking incredibly awkward, so..a list of definitions of fillip!

1. The movement used to launch a paper football, or to punish someone who has just said something mildly obnoxious, in which case it is generally directed at the forehead. You simply place the tip of a finger against the pad of your thumb and then snap the finger forward. Also the act of filliping or the position your fingers are in prior to executing a fillip.
2. Something of minor importance.
3. A short period of time; a moment.
4. A sharp blow, or the act of delivering such a blow.
5. A stimulus; something that excites, enlivens, interests, etc. Also, to stimulate or urge, often with "forward."

This charming quote from Thomas Becon's "An Invective Against Swearing" illustrates several of these meanings:

"The blasphemy done to a mortal man is punished with the sword, and shall the blasphemy done to God escape think you with a fillip in the forehead, or with the knock of a little wooden betel, as it is begun to be punished in certain men's houses now of late? Nay, verily. It is no fillip matter except we will admit such a fillip as shall fillip them down into the bottom of hell-fire." [Emphasis mine.]

I thought this was a cute word. Now it kind of scares me.