/fil"i gree'/, n., adj., v., filigreed, filigreeing.
1. delicate ornamental work of fine silver, gold, or other metal wires, esp. lacy jewelers' work of scrolls and arabesques.
2. anything very delicate or fanciful: a filigree of frost.
3. composed of or resembling filigree.
4. to adorn with or form into filigree.
[1685-95; earlier filigreen, var. of FILIGRAIN]

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 delicate, lacelike ornamental openwork composed of intertwined wire threads of gold or silver, widely used since antiquity for jewelry. The art consists of curling, twisting, or plaiting fine, pliable metal threads and soldering them at their points of contact with each other and, if there is one, with the metal groundwork.

      The ancient Greeks used filigree with great elegance; a necklace of pendant flowers and tassels in a trellis of finely plaited ropes is an example of the delicacy filigree work can attain. The use of filigree was widespread during Roman times, extending throughout the empire. Asian filigree work is especially fine. In East Asia, gold and silver filigree generally are surrounded and subdivided by bands of metal.

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Filigree — Fil i*gree, a. Relating to, composed of, or resembling, work in filigree; as, a filigree basket. Hence: Fanciful; unsubstantial; merely decorative. [1913 Webster] You ask for reality, not fiction and filigree work. J. C. Shairp. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • filigree — or filágree [fil′i grē΄] n. [altered from earlier filigrain < Fr filigrane < It filigrana < L filum, a thread (see FILE1) + granum, GRAIN] 1. delicate, lacelike ornamental work of intertwined wire of gold, silver, etc. 2. any delicate… …   English World dictionary

  • filigree — 1690s, shortening of filigreen (1660s), from Fr. filigrane filigree (17c.), from It. filigrana, from L. filum thread (see FILE (Cf. file) (v.)) + granum grain (see CORN (Cf. corn) (1)). Related: Filigreed …   Etymology dictionary

  • Filigree — Fil i*gree, n. [Corrupted fr. filigrane.] Ornamental work, formerly with grains or breads, but now composed of fine wire and used chiefly in decorating gold and silver to which the wire is soldered, being arranged in designs frequently of a… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • filigree — [n] ornamental art fretwork, interlace, lacework, lattice, ornamentation, tracery; concept 473 …   New thesaurus

  • filigree — (also filagree) ► NOUN ▪ delicate ornamental work of fine gold, silver, or copper wire. DERIVATIVES filigreed adjective. ORIGIN from Latin filum thread + granum seed ) …   English terms dictionary

  • Filigree — For the concrete system, see Filigree concrete. sterling Horse and Buggy, Filigree work …   Wikipedia

  • filigree — I. noun Etymology: modification of French filigrane, from Italian filigrana, from Latin filum + granum grain more at corn Date: 1693 1. ornamental work especially of fine wire of gold, silver, or copper applied chiefly to gold and silver surfaces …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • filigree — [17] Etymologically, filigree describes very accurately how filigree was originally made: it was delicate ornamental work constructed from threads (Latin filum) and beads (Latin grānum ‘grain, seed’). The Italian descendants of these two Latin… …   The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins

  • filigree — fil•i•gree [[t]ˈfɪl əˌgri[/t]] n. adj. v. greed, gree•ing 1) jew delicate ornamental work of fine silver, gold, or other metal wires, esp. lacy jewelers work of scrolls and arabesques 2) anything very delicate or fanciful: a filigree of… …   From formal English to slang

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