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[fil-i-gree] /ˈfɪl ɪˌgri/
delicate ornamental work of fine silver, gold, or other metal wires, especially lacy jewelers' work of scrolls and arabesques.
anything very delicate or fanciful:
a filigree of frost.
composed of or resembling filigree.
verb (used with object), filigreed, filigreeing.
to adorn with or form into filigree.
Origin of filigree
1685-95; earlier filigreen, variant of filigrain Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for filigree
  • To surf, a small verb lacking filigree or urgency, belongs to magical realism as much as to sport.
  • There are no statues, no elaborate filigree and few images.
  • It is honeyed, and has herbal notes and a filigree texture.
  • Squiggle lines everywhere giving a fussy, filigree effect.
  • To render their filigree and flounce, requires an adherence to form as elaborate and courtly as a sonnet.
  • Television keeps piling on more swirls, sprinkles and filigree.
  • Long tapers on every table and gold metal filigree wall sconces and chandeliers cast a soft glow.
  • Famous sculptors worked on the five-story structure, creating biblical scenes and depicting saints set among gold filigree.
  • And that leather trim will be laser-inscribed with filigree designs.
  • The vast filigree of epiphytes picks up and stores many nutrients that would otherwise float by on wind or wash away in runoff.
British Dictionary definitions for filigree


delicate ornamental work of twisted gold, silver, or other wire
any fanciful delicate ornamentation
made of or as if with filigree
verb -grees, -greeing, -greed
(transitive) to decorate with or as if with filigree
Derived Forms
filigreed, adjective
Word Origin
C17: from earlier filigreen, from French filigrane, from Latin fīlum thread + grānumgrain
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for filigree

1690s, shortening of filigreen (1660s), from French filigrane "filigree" (17c.), from Italian filigrana, from Latin filum "thread" (see file (v.)) + granum "grain" (see corn (n.1)). Related: Filigreed.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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