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Supposedly vs. Supposably


[fil] /fɪl/
verb (used with object)
to make full; put as much as can be held into:
to fill a jar with water.
to occupy to the full capacity:
Water filled the basin. The crowd filled the hall.
to supply to an extreme degree or plentifully:
to fill a house with furniture; to fill the heart with joy.
to satisfy fully the hunger of; satiate:
The roast beef filled the diners.
to put into a receptacle:
to fill sand into a pail.
to be plentiful throughout:
Fish filled the rivers.
to extend throughout; pervade completely:
The odor filled the room.
to furnish with an occupant:
The landlord filled the vacancy yesterday.
to provide (an office or opening) with an incumbent:
The company is eager to fill the controllership.
to occupy and perform the duties of (a vacancy, position, post, etc.).
to supply the requirements or contents of (an order), as for goods; execute.
to supply (a blank space) with written matter, decorative work, etc.
to meet satisfactorily, as requirements:
This book fills a great need.
to make up, compound, or otherwise provide the contents of (a medical prescription).
to stop up or close (a cavity, hole, etc.):
to fill a tooth.
Cookery. to insert a filling into:
to fill cupcakes with custard.
  1. to distend (a sail) by pressure of the wind so as to impart headway to a vessel.
  2. to brace (a yard) so that the sail will catch the wind on its after side.
to adulterate:
to fill soaps with water.
Civil Engineering, Building Trades. to build up the level of (an area) with earth, stones, etc.
verb (used without object)
to become full:
The hall filled rapidly. Our eyes filled with tears.
to increase in atmospheric pressure:
a filling cyclone.
to become distended, as sails with the wind.
a full supply; enough to satisfy want or desire:
to eat one's fill.
an amount of something sufficient for filling; charge.
Civil Engineering, Building Trades. a quantity of earth, stones, etc., for building up the level of an area of ground:
These houses were built on fill.
Compare backfill.
the feed and water in the digestive tract of a livestock animal, especially that consumed before marketing.
Verb phrases
fill away, Nautical.
  1. to fall off the wind and proceed on a board.
  2. to brace the yards, so that sails that have been aback will stand full.
fill in,
  1. to supply missing or desired information:
    Fill in the facts of your business experience.
  2. to complete by adding detail, as a design or drawing:
    to fill in a sketch with shadow.
  3. to substitute for:
    to fill in for a colleague who is ill.
  4. to fill with some material:
    to fill in a crack with putty.
  5. Informal. to supply (someone) with information:
    Please fill me in on the morning news.
fill out,
  1. to complete (a document, list, etc.) by supplying missing or desired information.
  2. to become larger, fuller, or rounder, as the figure:
    The children have begun to fill out since I saw them last.
fill up,
  1. to fill completely:
    to fill up a glass; to fill up a fuel tank.
  2. to become completely filled:
    The riverbed filled up as a result of the steady rains.
fill and stand on, Nautical. (of a sailing vessel) to proceed on a tack after being hove to or halted facing the wind; fill away.
fill the bill. bill1 (def 16).
Origin of fill
before 900; Middle English fillen, Old English fyllan; cognate with German füllen, Gothic fulljan to make full; see full1
Related forms
fillable, adjective
half-filled, adjective
unfilled, adjective
well-filled, adjective
2. crowd, pack, jam, cram. 13. satisfy, answer, fulfill. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for fill away
Historical Examples
  • It was necessary to fill away, in order to close with them, and a night-signal was made to that effect.

    The Two Admirals J. Fenimore Cooper
  • Captain Low had now only to fill away, and make sail, on his cruise.

  • You accept my method as being the correct one, try it, and fail to cast your boat so as to fill away.

    On Yachts and Yacht Handling Thomas Fleming Day
  • fill away and shoot ahead, or throw all aback and force her astern, as occasion may require.

    The Seaman's Friend Richard Henry Dana
  • But in less than ten minutes, and before they had made a single mile, they saw the Josephine fill away, and stand towards them.

    Down the Rhine Oliver Optic
  • When you approach the shore on either side, fill away till she gets sufficient headway, and put her in stays or wear her round.

    The Seaman's Friend Richard Henry Dana
  • Instead of obeying the order, the boatman hauled in his sheet, and the sloop began to fill away.

    Stand By The Union Oliver Optic
  • The men on the ship beseeched Morgan to fill away and abandon their comrades.

    Sir Henry Morgan, Buccaneer Cyrus Townsend Brady
  • What could I do but fill away among the breakers and find a channel between them, now that it was day?

  • As soon as they were on board of the Young America, and the barge hoisted up, orders were given to fill away again.

    Dikes and Ditches Oliver Optic
British Dictionary definitions for fill away

fill away

(intransitive, adverb) (nautical) to cause a vessel's sails to fill, either by steering it off the wind or by bracing the yards


verb (mainly transitive) often foll by up
(also intransitive) to make or become full: to fill up a bottle, the bath fills in two minutes
to occupy the whole of: the party filled two floors of the house
to plug (a gap, crevice, cavity, etc)
to meet (a requirement or need) satisfactorily
to cover (a page or blank space) with writing, drawing, etc
to hold and perform the duties of (an office or position)
to appoint or elect an occupant to (an office or position)
(building trades) to build up (ground) with fill
(also intransitive) to swell or cause to swell with wind, as in manoeuvring the sails of a sailing vessel
to increase the bulk of by adding an inferior substance
(poker) to complete (a full house, etc) by drawing the cards needed
(mainly US & Canadian) to put together the necessary materials for (a prescription or order)
(informal) fill the bill, to serve or perform adequately
material such as gravel, stones, etc, used to bring an area of ground up to a required level
one's fill, the quantity needed to satisfy one: to eat your fill
Word Origin
Old English fyllan; related to Old Frisian fella, Old Norse fylla, Gothic fulljan, Old High German fullen; see full1, fulfil
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 fill away



Old English fyllan "fill up, replenish, satisfy," from Proto-Germanic *fullijan (cf. Old Saxon fulljan, Old Norse fylla, Old Frisian fella, Dutch vullen, German füllen "to fill"), a derivative of adj. *fullaz "full" (see full (adj.)). Related: Filled.

To fill the bill (1882) originally was U.S. theatrical slang, in reference to a star whose name would be the only one on a show's poster. To fill out "write in required matter" is recorded from 1880. Fill-in "substitute" (n.) is from 1918.


"a full supply," mid-13c., fille, from Old English fylle, from Proto-Germanic *fullin- (cf. Old High German fulli, German Fülle, Old Norse fyllr), noun of state from *fullaz "full" (see full (adj.)). Meaning "extra material in music" is from 1934.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with fill away
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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