verb (used with object)
- to make full; put as much as can be held into: to fill a jar with water.
- to occupy to the full capacity: Water filled the basin. The crowd filled the hall.
- to supply to an extreme degree or plentifully: to fill a house with furniture; to fill the heart with joy.
- to satisfy fully the hunger of; satiate: The roast beef filled the diners.
- to put into a receptacle: to fill sand into a pail.
- to be plentiful throughout: Fish filled the rivers.
- to extend throughout; pervade completely: The odor filled the room.
- to furnish with an occupant: The landlord filled the vacancy yesterday.
- to provide (an office or opening) with an incumbent: The company is eager to fill the controllership.
- to occupy and perform the duties of (a vacancy, position, post, etc.).
- to supply the requirements or contents of (an order), as for goods; execute.
- to supply (a blank space) with written matter, decorative work, etc.
- to meet satisfactorily, as requirements: This book fills a great need.
- to make up, compound, or otherwise provide the contents of (a medical prescription).
- to stop up or close (a cavity, hole, etc.): to fill a tooth.
- Cookery. to insert a filling into: to fill cupcakes with custard.
- to distend (a sail) by pressure of the wind so as to impart headway to a vessel.
- to brace (a yard) so that the sail will catch the wind on its after side.
- to adulterate: to fill soaps with water.
- Civil Engineering, Building Trades. to build up the level of (an area) with earth, stones, etc.
verb (used without object)
- to become full: The hall filled rapidly. Our eyes filled with tears.
- to increase in atmospheric pressure: a filling cyclone.
- to become distended, as sails with the wind.
- a full supply; enough to satisfy want or desire: to eat one’s fill.
- an amount of something sufficient for filling; charge.
- Civil Engineering, Building Trades. a quantity of earth, stones, etc., for building up the level of an area of ground: These houses were built on fill.Compare backfill.
- the feed and water in the digestive tract of a livestock animal, especially that consumed before marketing.
- fill away, Nautical.
- to fall off the wind and proceed on a board.
- to brace the yards, so that sails that have been aback will stand full.
- fill in,
- to supply missing or desired information: Fill in the facts of your business experience.
- to complete by adding detail, as a design or drawing: to fill in a sketch with shadow.
- to substitute for: to fill in for a colleague who is ill.
- to fill with some material: to fill in a crack with putty.
- Informal.to supply (someone) with information: Please fill me in on the morning news.
- fill out,
- to complete (a document, list, etc.) by supplying missing or desired information.
- to become larger, fuller, or rounder, as the figure: The children have begun to fill out since I saw them last.
- fill up,
- to fill completely: to fill up a glass; to fill up a fuel tank.
- to become completely filled: The riverbed filled up as a result of the steady rains.
- fill and stand on, Nautical. (of a sailing vessel) to proceed on a tack after being hove to or halted facing the wind; fill away.
- fill the bill. bill1(def 16).
verb (mainly tr often foll by up)
- (also intr) to make or become fullto fill up a bottle; the bath fills in two minutes
- to occupy the whole ofthe party filled two floors of the house
- to plug (a gap, crevice, cavity, etc)
- to meet (a requirement or need) satisfactorily
- to cover (a page or blank space) with writing, drawing, etc
- to hold and perform the duties of (an office or position)
- to appoint or elect an occupant to (an office or position)
- building trades to build up (ground) with fill
- (also intr) to swell or cause to swell with wind, as in manoeuvring the sails of a sailing vessel
- to increase the bulk of by adding an inferior substance
- poker to complete (a full house, etc) by drawing the cards needed
- mainly US and Canadian to put together the necessary materials for (a prescription or order)
- fill the bill informal to serve or perform adequately
- material such as gravel, stones, etc, used to bring an area of ground up to a required level
- one’s fill the quantity needed to satisfy oneto eat your fill
Old English fyllan “fill up, replenish, satisfy,” from Proto-Germanic *fullijan (cf. Old Saxon fulljan, Old Norse fylla, Old Frisian fella, Dutch vullen, German füllen “to fill”), a derivative of adj. *fullaz “full” (see full (adj.)). Related: Filled.
To fill the bill (1882) originally was U.S. theatrical slang, in reference to a star whose name would be the only one on a show’s poster. To fill out “write in required matter” is recorded from 1880. Fill-in “substitute” (n.) is from 1918.
“a full supply,” mid-13c., fille, from Old English fylle, from Proto-Germanic *fullin- (cf. Old High German fulli, German Fülle, Old Norse fyllr), noun of state from *fullaz “full” (see full (adj.)). Meaning “extra material in music” is from 1934.
In addition to the idioms beginning with fill
- filled to the brim
- fill in
- fill out
- fill someone’s shoes
- fill the bill
- back and fill
- get one’s fill of
Also see underfull.