Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A custom or game of reputed German origin: two persons share a nut containing two kernels, and one of them incurs the obligation of giving something as forfeit to the other, either by being first addressed by the latter with the word philopena at their next meeting, or by receiving something from the other's hand, or by answering a question with yes or no, or by some other similar test as agreed upon.
- n. The salutation in the game or custom thus described.
- n. The kernel of the nut used in the game.
- n. A game in which a person, on finding a double-kernelled almond or nut, may offer the second kernel to another person and demand a playful forfeit from that person to be paid on their next meeting. The forfeit may simply be to exchange the greeting "Good-day, Philopena" or it may be more elaborate. Philopenas were often played as a form of flirtation.
- n. The occasion on which a philopena is forfeited; the forfeit paid.
- n. A nut or almond with a double kernel, as used to set a philopena.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. A present or gift which is made as a forfeit in a social game that is played in various ways; also, the game itself.
- The origin of philopena is unclear. Despite its appearance, it is not formed from classical roots. The traditional game seems to have originated in Germany, and to have included a formulatic greeting, Gutenmorgen Vielliebchen ("Good morning, sweetheart"), with Vielliebchen being accepted into French as a proper name, and the game's tag becoming "Bonjour Philipine". (Wiktionary)
“The subsequent Christmas dinner was a festival, and the dessert was prolonged with cracking nuts, making "philopena" bargains, opening sugar kisses and exchanging "verses.”
“Boys, I move that he keeps still and lets this human philopena snip you out a speech.”
“I can't help it if the boys send me philopena presents, as they do to the other girls.”
“I owe him a philopena, and that would have been a splendid way to pay it.”
“But when Lena had reminded him of all sorts of promises, and Frau Dörr with much emphasis and much use of her eyes had reminded him of the still outstanding philopena, he yielded and decided to spend the evening.”
“That is, if I may and if I shall not be in the way of the philopena.”
“While they were standing there Frau Dörr reminded them that after all they had forgotten the philopena.”
“We must eat a philopena to-day and then well call it square.”
“They'd been lookin 'for the same old elephant with two men inside, the good old chestnut that they'd been tryin' to laugh over for years, and when this philopena was sprung on 'em they were as tickled as a baby with a jack-in-the-box.”
“I can't help it if the boys send me philopena presents, as they do to the other girls. ”
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