Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A love potion.
  • n. A magic potion or charm.
  • transitive v. To enchant with or as if with a philter.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To impregnate or mix with a love potion.
  • v. To charm to love; to excite to love or sexual desire by a potion.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A potion or charm intended to excite the passion of love.
  • transitive v. To impregnate or mix with a love potion.
  • transitive v. To charm to love; to excite to love or sexual desire by a potion.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To impregnate with a love-potion: as, to philter a draught.
  • To excite to sexual love or desire by a potion.
  • n. A potion supposed to have the power of exciting sexual love; a love-potion.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a drink credited with magical power; can make the one who takes it love the one who gave it

Etymologies

French philtre, from Old French, from Latin philtrum, from Greek philtron, from philein, to love, from philos, beloved, loving.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Ancient Greek φίλτρον (philtron), from φιλέω (phileō, "I love"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • And, perchance still failing, then might I expect the common bravo's steel in my back or the common poisoner's philter in my wine, my meat, or bread.

    Chapter 11

  • Past sand-colored mosques and beneath the mullioned windows I comb the streets looking for any evidence of a crocodile, but come up with nothing, save a popular extract of crocodile, a philter ointment whose label says, "For you and your happiness."

    Richard Bangs: Quest for the Lord of the Nile, Part II

  • He half walked, half carried the asura back up the hill, where he dug through his pack filled with waxed-paper wrappings, finally producing a reddish philter.

    Guild Wars: Ghosts of Ascalon

  • Charles the Great enforced to love basely by a philter

    Anatomy of Melancholy

  • Plutarch records of Lucullus that he died of a philter; and that Cleopatra used philters to inveigle Antony, amongst other allurements.

    Anatomy of Melancholy

  • Aphonsi, hath a story of one Stephan, a Neapolitan knight, that by a philter was forced to run mad for love.

    Anatomy of Melancholy

  • As for herbs and philters, I could never skill of them, The sole philter that ever I used was kissing and embracing, by which alone I made men rave like beasts stupefied, and compelled them to worship me like an idol.

    Anatomy of Melancholy

  • St. Hierome proves that they can do it (as in Hilarius 'life, epist.lib. 3); he hath a story of a young man, that with a philter made a maid mad for the love of him, which maid was after cured by Hilarion.

    Anatomy of Melancholy

  • King Duffe; characters stamped of sundry metals, and at such and such constellations, knots, amulets, words, philters, &c., which generally make the parties affected, melancholy; as [1276] Monavius discourseth at large in an epistle of his to Acolsius, giving instance in a Bohemian baron that was so troubled by a philter taken.

    Anatomy of Melancholy

  • Rumor has it that she may have given him something called a "love-philter" to keep him impotent and away from her.

    Archive 2007-09-01

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