Definition of fillet in English:


nounPlural fillets

  • 1A fleshy boneless piece of meat from near the loins or the ribs of an animal.

    ‘a chicken breast fillet’
    mass noun ‘roast fillet of lamb’
    • ‘My fillet of venison with a roulade of celeriac and roasted wild mushrooms in a red wine and port jus was absolutely fine apart from one key factor.’
    • ‘Turn the fillets over (and marvel at your stunning charred lines) and cook for a further one to two minutes until still slightly pink in the centre.’
    • ‘Mr Gucci had the fillet of veal braised in brown chicken stock, sautéed ceps, baby spinach and truffle cream at £20.’
    • ‘For starters I was rather adventurous and went for the fillet of ostrich which came with a parsnip and garlic mash with pearl barley topping.’
    • ‘Rub the chicken fillets with rock salt and paprika.’
    • ‘The other dishes, sesame chicken breast and pork fillet with mustard sauce were also good flavoursome and different dishes.’
    • ‘Once you've got a good fillet of new season lamb from the butcher you seal it and you wrap it in the pastry - it doesn't have to be flash - using whatever flavourings you want.’
    • ‘Gently wrap the fillets together with caul fat or tie together with butcher's twine.’
    • ‘The Oven Roasted Strips Meal consists of three boneless chicken fillets seasoned with a blend of herbs and spices served on a bed of long-grain rice with a side of green beans.’
    • ‘The main course (of the seven that evening) was a fillet of veal done in the Barolo wine with cauliflower ganache and endives in red sea salt.’
    • ‘Season and coat the fillets in the remaining beer batter.’
    • ‘Dredge pork fillets in flour and shake off any excess.’
    • ‘Young simulated a scenario of packing 4-pound packages of chicken breast fillets.’
    • ‘We finished with a fillet of pork with a port wine reduction and then the aforementioned triple textured chocolate and sat back totally satiated.’
    • ‘That was followed by a chicken fillet covered with a great creamy sauce and mashed potatoes alongside it.’
    • ‘If you're extra hungry, order an additional grilled chicken breast fillet.’
    • ‘Last night the entrée was a bacon-wrapped fillet mignon with a fig sauce and potato gratin.’
    • ‘Cheaper options included various meat fillets, including chicken, veal, duck, goose and pork.’
    1. 1.1 A beef steak cut from the lower part of a sirloin.
      • ‘Vicky's option was a lot more straightforward: a ten-ounce fillet steak with green pepper and brandy sauce.’
      • ‘In the old days when I ate out on a fairly regular basis, Paul Stiffler was the only chef who knew just how rare I took my fillet steak.’
      • ‘Garlic mushrooms, with salad and dips, appealed to my husband, and then a fillet steak with pepper sauce (there are other sauce choices).’
      • ‘With a fillet steak you should leave the thing alone to appreciate its charred exterior, gently yielding texture and pink heart.’
      • ‘Think depth rather than width and cook it like a proper fillet steak, only seasoning it halfway through the cooking process.’
      • ‘The meat itself is tender, even more so than a fine fillet steak, and requires the gentlest of handling and cooking.’
      • ‘From the prime table - centre, first step up - the fillet steak is at eye-level.’
      • ‘All of the players, he said, could now be treated to ‘a fillet steak, instead of toast and beans’.’
      • ‘As it's so low in fat and cholesterol you have nearly all the flavour of a tender fillet steak and none of the health risks.’
      • ‘The fillet steak in the steak sandwich was so good I even queried Greg as to whether he had slipped a better quality one in, just for me, which he denied.’
      • ‘The fillet steak, however, was beautifully presented and combined an unusual and delicious array of flavours.’
      • ‘Then I boil up a portion each morning and pour it into a deep bowl over raw prawns or raw fillet steak, julienne of cucumber, bean sprouts, chilli and noodles.’
      • ‘For lunch ‘Blue’ has a fillet steak with baked potato followed by another protein mix in mid-afternoon.’
      • ‘It seems a shame to eat anything other than fish in this restaurant but the fillet steak has become just as renowned.’
      • ‘The chargrilled fillet steak with creamed potatoes and roasted field mushrooms was ordered medium rare and arrived medium.’
      • ‘For the main course I paid the modest £2 supplement for the fillet steak.’
      • ‘You can get a fine fillet steak with chips and trimmings for €10-12.’
      • ‘A glass of red wine in a restaurant was discovered to be 16% cheaper and the average price of a fillet steak was reported to be 14% better value in the West.’
      • ‘When my knuckles went white as I tried to cut the fillet steak that followed, I sighed.’
      • ‘Something that had initially caught my eye was the herbed canon of lamb, or the chargrilled fillet steak.’
    2. 1.2 A boned side of a fish.
      • ‘There is an amusing story associated with this extremely expensive and elegant dish which required a whole fillet of sturgeon per person.’
      • ‘Place the cod fillets on a flat work surface and cover each fillet with two slices of the ham.’
      • ‘The Broadcaster had the baked fillet of salmon with a honey and wholegrain mustard crust.’
      • ‘Season and coat one side of the tilapia fillets with the scallion crust.’
      • ‘I had asked her to tell me, based on what she'd seen in the kitchen, and on the reaction of other diners, whether she would choose the escalopes of veal or the baked fillet of cod.’
      • ‘Top fillet with cilantro, coating it as mush as possible.’
      • ‘A good fillet of sea bream was rather overwhelmed by a quilt of very salty black olive paste and the grilled eel in a herb crust was also a little heavy-handed.’
      • ‘Pour enough water into skillet to cover fillets.’
      • ‘The Fish Society's cod fillets are like no other.’
      • ‘Heat a heavy based frying pan and seal the fillets on both sides and cook to medium rare.’
      • ‘Bea had less luck with her baked fillet of halibut on a creamy risotto of smoked salmon.’
      • ‘He smoked 60 cigarettes a day, and hung anchovy fillets round his neck as a talisman to protect his voice.’
      • ‘The fish fillet in wine sauce disappeared off the menu.’
      • ‘To serve spoon some pineapple mint and heirloom tomato salad onto the center of a plate and set a yellowtail snapper fillet on top.’
      • ‘When ready to cook, strain the court bouillon and pour into a wide sauté pan, just deep enough to cover the salmon fillets.’
      • ‘Place a fillet of cod in the center of the plate and garnish with pea shoots, mint, and a lemon half.’
      • ‘Wrap each halibut fillet completely with a fig leaf, securing with a toothpick if necessary.’
      • ‘Before them was a meal including queen of scallop and haddock chowder, herb crusted roast fillet of Irish beef, grilled fillets of west coast sea bass and roast loin of grain fed veal.’
      • ‘Place a fillet of sea bass on top of the sliced mushrooms.’
      • ‘Check the fish fillets for small bones, then set aside.’
  • 2A band or ribbon worn round the head, especially for binding the hair.

    • ‘He wears a fillet in his hair and has a richly colored and embroidered himation wrapped around his waist.’
    • ‘He also parted company with the Farnese Flora by exchanging her wreath and fillet for oak crowns, a reminder that his figure stood against the thick woods of Versailles.’
    • ‘This was true in the case of the Venus Esquilina, whose pose Poynter completed by showing her wrapping a fillet around her head.’
    crown, coronet, tiara, circlet, chaplet, headpiece, headband, wreath, garland
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1Architecture A narrow flat band separating two mouldings.
      • ‘The extensive factory area across the back of the building includes miniature frame racks fillets representing lengths of moulding.’
      • ‘Can you imagine, if all those perfectly wrought concrete edges had been reduced to the more easily formed standard splayed edge fillets, how impoverished it would seem to us now?’
      • ‘The generous fillet at the top of the principal cove of the cornice is finished with a two-color mouse-tooth banding.’
      • ‘Interestingly, surface modelers nowadays take pages from the solid modeling book in how they do things like putting fillets on edges.’
      • ‘Selling customers on more expensive framing orders is often simply a matter of showing them the effects that wider mats, fillets and more expensive mouldings can have, said several framers.’
      • ‘You'll see the use of texture and complementary fillets all throughout our line of wood and polystyrene mouldings.’
      • ‘Recognized by decorators and designers around the world, Max Moulding offers a wide variety of mouldings and fillets for every taste, every need and every budget.’
    2. 2.2Architecture A small band between the flutes of a column.
  • 3A roughly triangular strip of material which rounds off an interior angle between two surfaces.

    • ‘Mr. Davies observed that the fillet welds in way of the damaged ballast tanks and fuel tank had failed.’
    • ‘Prints from catalogs were mounted on black core mat and cut to show bevel, using fillets around them to represent framed pictures.’
    • ‘The poles came from strips of broken fillets that had been lying around the shop.’
    • ‘Also, SolidWorks 2004 comes with predefined structural weldment members such as fillets, weld beads, gussets, end caps, and cut lists.’
    • ‘Alias, however, uses the surfaces to define the fillet.’
    • ‘In parametric models, each entity, such as a line or a fillet, has parameters associated with it.’
  • 4(in bookbinding) a plain line impressed on the cover of a book.

    • ‘Black suede mats will always be popular, and small touches like double mats and fillets go a long way to accentuate a diploma.’
    1. 4.1 A roller used to impress a fillet on the cover of a book.

verbfilleting, filleted, fillets

[with object]
  • 1Remove the bones from (a fish).

    • ‘I remember my grandfather taking the fish I had caught, whether it was a single small fish or a bucket of whoppers, and filleting them on newspaper outside his cottage.’
    • ‘We watched as fish was filleted for a customer next to us.’
    • ‘This list is for those of us who are to lazy to cut, gut and fillet our own fish.’
    • ‘Whilst we were relaxing the crew of the boat were at work filleting the fish and putting it into bags so that when the shore finally came into sight we all had a bag of fish in the ice boxes ready to take home and put in the freezer.’
    • ‘Ask your fishmonger to fillet it and remove the small bones.’
    • ‘No, your Honour, the original fish has been filleted somewhat and it is a smaller thing.’
    • ‘It was awash with salmon that had been filleted, and it was quite disgusting and a was substantial mess.’
    • ‘Scale, clean and fillet the remaining fish, putting skin, bones, heads etc. into a large pan with the fish trimmings and 2 litres of water.’
    • ‘We work until nearly midnight filleting the fish and giving it away in great slabs to the 200 strong flotilla of visiting yachts that crowd the marina in summer.’
    • ‘Fish can also be filleted and iced on board the fishing boats as a result of the initiative.’
    • ‘To add to this assurance of quality, Graham fillets each fish by hand, which allows him to monitor every single fish that passes through the Smokehouse.’
    • ‘However, it is a fish which is well adapted to being filleted, yielding cohesive, firm fillets of a good thickness, and many of the classic sole recipes are for fillets.’
    • ‘One critic says his tongue could fillet a fish, and this week he comes to New Zealand to headline the Comedy Festival and perform solo shows in Auckland and Christchurch.’
    • ‘The blade is somewhat flexible, better to make the turns necessary when filleting a fish.’
    • ‘Up to now, the company filleted the fish and exported it in bulk form but, with the new development, this will all change and added packaged produce aimed specifically at the eastern European market will be produced.’
    • ‘I much prefer to fillet fish after they have chilled, back at the dock or anchorage when the boat is quiet and feet are not slipping on a bloody deck.’
    • ‘Fish caught on boating excursions of less than 48 hours must not be filleted at sea, and for longer trips only fillets at least 30 cm long with the skin and scales still attached may be landed.’
    • ‘Equally as mysterious, is the skill that is required to fillet the flesh through the network of bones.’
    • ‘The best thing is therefore to fillet any fish you are going to put in the curry, and use all the heads and skeletons to make the stock.’
    • ‘Also thanks for kindly filleting the fish leaving no bones.’
    1. 1.1 Cut (fish or meat) into boneless strips.
      • ‘Big ones over 2lbs I like to fillet four ways, and then grill the fillets using lemon butter as a baste.’
      • ‘Nottingham Crown Court heard that staff, in threadbare butchers' aprons, worked into the early hours to fillet carcasses which had been condemned as unfit for human consumption.’
      • ‘Competitors fillet tuna to produce an even, level piece.’
      • ‘A variation of this recipe is usually used to garnish Cantonese roast pork, but we slathered it on salt-baked pork chops, which were filleted like veal and fried in crinkly shapes like some strange form of ribbon candy.’
      • ‘Boyd Line produces ‘frozen at sea’ fillets - caught, filleted and frozen within four hours - mostly for fish and chip shops.’


Middle English (denoting a band worn round the head): from Old French filet ‘thread’, based on Latin filum ‘thread’.