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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Philter \Phil"ter\, n. [F. philtre, L. philtrum, Gr. ?, fr. ? to love, ? dear, loving.] A potion or charm intended to excite the passion of love. [Written also philtre.]

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

also philter, "love potion," 1580s, from Middle French philtre (1560s), from Latin philtrum (plural philtra) "love potion," from Greek philtron "a love-charm," literally "to make oneself beloved," from philein "to love" (from philos "loving;" see philo-) + instrumental suffix -tron.


n. (alternative spelling of philter English) vb. (alternative spelling of philter English)


n. a drink credited with magical power; can make the one who takes it love the one who gave it [syn: philter, love-potion, love-philter, love-philtre]


A philtre or philter is a magic potion.
The word came to Western languages through the Latinphiltrum, this from the Greek φίλτρον, phíltron, a love potion; from Greek φίλος, phílos, "dear", "beloved"; thus a potion or concoction meant to secure someone's favors or affections.

The word may also refer to:

  • Philtre (audio device), a now-discontinued Alesis desktop effects device
  • Le Philtre, an 1831 opera by Daniel Auber
  • Magnus Gangstad Jørgensen, a Norwegian electronic music artist using the name Philter.
  • Philtre, an album by Nitin Sawhney
  • "Philter", a track from The Fantastic Plastic Machine

Usage examples of "philtre".

In the above incidents, those gentle moralizers who find the serious philosophy of the music dramas too terrifying for them, may allegorize pleasingly on the philtre as the maddening chalice of passion which, once tasted, causes the respectable man to forget his lawfully wedded wife and plunge into adventures which eventually lead him headlong to destruction.

To make the philtre visually engaging, Tre had deformed the two basic polyhedra into a pair of shapes which resembled a skinny chicken and a fat dodo bird.

But the twist-box used a simple Stakhanovite three-variable chaotic feedback loop, rather than a ideologically designed process, as was characteristic of the new philtres.

But as for this Zachariah, I know he sells philtres at ten dinars the bottle: his shop is crowded with rich old women.

HASSAN Selim, in the name of friendship, take these ten dinars and buy me that philtre, and return with speed.

In the name of friendship, Selim, take the dinars and purchase me that philtre.

SELIM There can be no doubt that there are philtres which drive women to love, though their hearts be as strong and their heads as cold as the mountains of Qaf.

But after seven years, when the girls grow old and ugly, they send them back to their kindred, giving them, however, as compensation, a knowledge of herbs and philtres and secret spells, by which they can kill or cure, and have power over men both for good and evil.

Do not make me chargeable, O Hassan, if the philtre is without effect.

The virtue claimed for that piece of parchment by the man who had sold it to me was that it insured its lucky possessor the love of all women, but I trust my readers will do me the justice to believe that I had no faith whatever in amorous philtres, talismans, or amulets of any kind: I had purchased it only for a joke.

I certainly did not believe them to be amorous philtre, and I was very far from supposing that the addition of the hair made them taste more delicious.

Alice Perrers, the mistress pf Edward III, was not only reputed to have infatuated the old King by occult spells, but her physician (believed to be a mighty sorcerer) was arrested on a charge of confecting love philtres and talismans.

Earned a good living in eighteenth-century Europe peddling alchemistic powders, love philtres, elixirs of youth, and other useful compounds.

Having regard to the period, and to the alchemistic nature of the goods that composed so much of Anne's stock-in-trade at the sign of the Golden Distaff, in Paternoster Row, it may be conjectured that the love-lorn Frances had thoughts of a philtre.

Just then the five hundredth doctor, the most famous in all Fantastica, whose knowledge was said to embrace every existing medicinal herb, every magic philtre and secret of nature, was examining the patient.