a fillip of support/neighbor/surprise

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HolyUnicorn

Senior Member
Mandarin / the Shanghai Dialect
  1. The tragedy may even offer a fillip of support to a president who polled low even before the months of violent “Yellow Vest” protests erupted late last year.
  2. It was with a little fillip of surprise that Pascoe realized she hadn't recognized his voice.
  3. Did she only feel good because of the unexpected fillip of her highly attractive anonymous new neighbour?
These sentences are from dictionaries listed as usage examples of "fillip".

According to the WR dictionary,

Fillip: anything that tends to rouse, excite, or revive; a stimulus:


Does this meaning apply in 2 and 3? For No. 1, what does "fillip of support" mean?
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    1. "The unexpected fillip of her..." sounds unusual in (3), but the author does seem to use it with the normal meaning of "stimulus" or something very close to that. "A little fillip of surprise" in (2) does not seem to carry that meaning. I guess the author was trying to say something like "a little rush of surprise" or something similar.

    2. The author probably intended no greater meaning than " a little bit of support" when that author used "a fillip of support" in the first sentence.
     
    Last edited:

    HolyUnicorn

    Senior Member
    Mandarin / the Shanghai Dialect
    1. "The unexpected fillip of her..." sounds unusual in (3), but the author does seem to use it with the normal meaning of "stimulus" or something very close to that. "A little fillip of surprise" in (2) does not seem to carry that meaning. I guess the author was trying to say something like "a little rush of surprise" or something similar.

    2. The author probably intended no greater meaning than " a little bit of support" when that author used "a fillip of support" in the first sentence.
    Hi Owlman5, I have looked up "fillip" in various dictionaries. Interestingly, most of the dictionaries only list "stimulus" as the standard meaning. Only Merriam-Webster has two additional meanings: b a trivial addition c a significant and often unexpected development
    Definition of FILLIP


    Here is the context for the first sentence.

    "Mr. Macron, who went to the site even as it still burned on Monday evening, has presented himself as the image of control and authority. The tragedy may even offer a fillip of support to a president who polled low even before the months of violent “Yellow Vest” protests erupted late last year. The question is for how long. " The whole article can be read at In Aftermath of Notre-Dame Fire, Macron Urges Unity in Fragmented Nation

    Then what is the difference between a fillip of support and a little bit of support here? The writer must be using "a fillip" to imply something. What is the nuance of this word "fillip"?
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    I see no difference in the intended meaning, Holy Unicorn. What I do see is a use of "fillip" that looks like an error to me.

    Merriam - Webster is unusually liberal in the support it offers for rare, strange, and often questionable meanings for words. I don't want you to get into the habit of using certain words with rare or strange meanings that MW might accept. Webster's Collegiate, American Heritage, and many other dictionaries are more reliable.

    An unabridged MW is useful if you just want to keep a large collection of strange usages in American English.
     
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    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    1. "Fillip" is not a common word. It is likely that if you use it, people won't understand you.

    2. The WordReference dictionary, copying from the Random House Dictionary of American English says the verb "fillip" means "to strike with the nail of a finger snapped from the end of the thumb". This is a common action, often used to move a small object (or to remove a piece of dirt or lint from your clothing). Some games require you to "fillip" a marble or a checker. The more general verb "flick" covers this action and other similar actions.

    So that is the literal meaning: (noun) a light tap with a finger; (verb) to do that action

    3. The metaphorical meaning is similar: anything that seems like a small tap.

    Then what is the difference between a fillip of support and a little bit of support here?
    4. There is no difference. In English there is always more than one way to say something.
     

    HolyUnicorn

    Senior Member
    Mandarin / the Shanghai Dialect
    Thanks for both of your help. I will stop digging deeper into this word since it is not very common. but I have got a sense of what it means through your explanations.
     
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