GeneralWords

Difference Between Filet and Fillet

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Main Difference

The main difference between Filet and fillet is that the word Filet specifically refers to French cuisine, whereas Fillet is a general term for the same word.

Filet vs. Fillet

Filet is a strip of boneless meat of French cuisine; on the other hand, fillet also means the same thing but in a general term. Filet is reserved for the names of the French-derived dishes, e.g., filet mignon. The term fillet is a collective name and is generical.

The spelling of filet with a single “l” is more close to the original Middle English spelling; on the flip side, the fillet is a broader term that is generally used everywhere. Filet is also known as the American variant of the word fillet. But the word fillet is favored more outside North America.

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There are five letters in the word filet. On the other hand, the word fillet contains six letters, it contains double “l,” whereas filet contains double “l.” Some of the American and Canadian writers use filet, and some of them also use fillet.

As a noun, filet also means “a kind of net/lace with a square mesh.” On the flip side, as a noun, fillet means a boneless cut of meat, e.g., fish fillets, and as a verb, its meaning is “removing meat from the bone.” The spelling of the filet is closer to the word’s origins. But the spelling fillet is more common now.

In the French language, the noun filet means a small thread or a thin trickle of water. The verb fillet means “netting something, such as catching fish in a net, stabilizing hair with a hairnet, and the like.”

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Comparison Chart

FiletFillet
“A kind of net/lace with a square mesh,” “A boneless cut of meat is the filet.”“A boneless cut of meat is the fillet.”
Number of Letters
FiveSix
Spelling
Closer to the word’s originsMore common nowadays
French Meaning
A small thread, or a thin trickle of water (noun)“To net something, to stabilize hair under a hairnet, and the like” (verb)
Term
Refers to the French cuisineA general term for the same word
Favored
In AmericaOutside North America

What is Filet?

The word filet is a noun and a verb. It is the French version of its counterpart fillet. As a noun, filet also means “a kind of net/lace with square mesh.” This word Filet traces back to French history. Filet became integrated into English in the middle Ages. Filet specifically refers to French cuisine. It is reserved for the names of the French-derived dishes, e.g., filet mignon, Filet-O-Fish, filet of beef, etc. This word filet is closer to original Middle English spelling as compare to its other version fillet. It is the American variant of the same word fillet.

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The word filet contains five letters. The spelling of the filet is closer to the word’s origins. Some of the American and Canadian writers use filet, and some of them also use the other version fillet. They even use the word “filet” in contexts other than French cuisine. As a verb, the meaning of filet is “removing meat from the bone.” Fillet refers to all such dishes that sound French.

In the French language, the noun filet means a small thread or a thin trickle of water. However, this word still has some frequency in American and British English. Filet also appears on fancy and mundane menus. The use of the word filet is more common. Filet does not always relate to French cuisine in the U.S. and Canada. People refer filet to beef primarily, but it is also the fish cut. Filet mignon is the thick cut from the end of beef tenderloin.

Examples

  • Let’s go to McDonald’s and order as many Filet-o-Fish sandwiches as we like.
  • “John ordered a filet mignon, but he became offended when the waiter did not deliver the required cut of meat.”
  • “Top the vegetables in plates with the sea bass filet.

What is Fillet?

The fillet is also a noun and a verb. The meaning of fillet is a cut of boneless meat. The fillet is a more general term than its counterpart filet, which is a French version. It is a broader term generally used everywhere. The word fillet is favored more outside North America. The letters that the word fillet contains are six. It contains double “l” than its counterpart filet. Some of the American and Canadian writers use filet, and some of them also use fillet.

The pronunciation of fillet is /fiˈlā/ with the “t” silent. As a noun, fillet means a boneless cut of meat, such as fish fillets. As a verb, the meaning of fillet is “removing meat from the bone.” The spelling of fillet is much more common now than its counterpart. Fillet refers to a general term referring to the boneless piece of meat. In the French language, the verb fillet means “to net something, such as catching the fish in the net, stabilizing hair under a hairnet, and the like.”

It came through the Middle English word in the 14th century, which borrowed it from Anglo-French. The verb filleting is the process of cutting meat or fish from the bone. This boneless meat was historically called a fillet, but now fillet is used only about fish. Fillet does not specify French dishes. The cut of meat called chicken tender is also referred to as chicken fillet.

Examples

  • I ordered a salmon fillet. I hope the restaurant can make it.
  • The chef filleted a large tuna with the expertise of a professional.
  • “A thick 4 to 5-ounce fish fillet piece can take about 15 min to get cooked.

Key Differences

  1. Filet is a strip of boneless meat, and fillet also means the same thing.
  2. Filet specifically refers to French cuisine, whereas fillet is a general term.
  3. Filet is the spelling of French. On the other hand, the fillet is a broader term that is normally used everywhere.
  4. Filet is an American form of the word. On the contrary, the word fillet is favored more outside North America.
  5. There are five letters in the word filet; on the converse, the word fillet contains six letters.
  6. The word filet contains double “l”; on the contrary, the word filet contains double “l.”
  7. A noun filet also means “a kind of net/lace with a square mesh.” while fillet means a boneless cut of meat such as fish fillets as a noun.
  8. The spelling of filet is closer to the word’s origins; inversely, the spelling fillet is much more common now.
  9. In the French language, the noun filet means “a small thread or a thin trickle of water”; contrarily, the verb fillet means “to net something, such as catching the fish in the net, stabilizing hair under a hairnet, and the like.”

Conclusion

Filet and fillet are the two different words having the same pronunciation but a slight difference in their meaning and spelling.

Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson

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