Jun 29, 2020
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What does the expression “Filkina letter” mean?

Filkina letter - the meaning and origin of phraseology

Those who have to write an appeal to higher authorities often hear about literacy. Especially if they write for the first time.

One feels something indulgent in this phrase, even neglect. How did “Filka” become so famous and who is he? Let's get it right.

The meaning of phraseology

Filka's letter they call a document that has no power, mediocre, and sometimes illiterate written. It is interesting that the main interpretation of phraseologism concerns precisely the aimlessness, the vainness of the document (it does not matter how it was written, the main thing is that it is inconclusive).

However, most modern phraseological dictionaries highlight just such an aspect as negligence, incorrect spelling.

It is always easier to explain the failure of a written request by the fact that it is incorrectly written. What else can justify this semantic shift from a substantive to a formal one? Perhaps, over time, the origin of the expression has been forgotten, peyorization has occurred (deterioration or simplification of semantics).

Now phraseologism can be heard "at all levels of government." For example, the class teacher will indignantly return the truant a little written explanatory note and say: “What kind of diploma is this? Neither the date nor the month ... And he did not indicate the reason for the absenteeism! ”

And the governor of the region in the same terms will criticize the confused departmental report. It is clear that both documents will have to be rewritten ...

The origin of phraseology

The idiom Filkina Charter was born during the reign of John IV the Terrible. Dividing the territory subject to him in the okrugs, over each of them the king placed an “lured” warrior boy close to himself.

Each such servant, an oprichnik, was obliged to inform the tsar of all the intruders living in his territory, and also had the right to repair autocratic reprisals against traitors.

Needless to say, that “protecting the sovereign is interesting”, legalized executioners simultaneously solved personal problems, eliminating political competitors and other objectionable persons. For several years, the guardsmen drowned Russian soil in blood.

While the people passed word-of-mouth horror stories about the servants of the sovereigns, nobles were silent in fear. Metropolitan Philip alone did not hide his indignation. He wrote to Ivan the Terrible furious denunciatory letters in which he urged the monarch to come to his senses and cancel the oprichnina.

The emperor, on the other hand, regarded such letters with contempt, while Philip was derogatoryly called the Filka. The epistles of the Metropolitan (or the "Filinka deeds", as the autocrat called them) at the end put Ivan the Terrible from patience.

The public defender was imprisoned in the Tver Monastery and was personally strangled by the head of the guardsmen Malyuta Skuratov. Metropolitan Philip is ranked by the Church as a saint. His tragic fate became an example for all the defenders of the long-suffering Russian people.

The philologist N. M. Shansky cites as the second source the version that the expression “filkin letter” was born from the word “simpleton” (in short - “filet”), that is, an awkward, inept, rustic person.

Then it becomes clear why the Fylka letter is called anyhow as a compiled document. Thus, each of the meanings of the idiom has its own history of occurrence.


In Russian, partly synonymous idioms can be called expressions:

  • bullshit;
  • Chinese letter
  • chicken paw wrote;
  • it is written on the knee;
  • to the village of grandfather (without indicating the address).

Foreigners also have interesting analogues:

  • useless scrap of paper ("useless piece of paper") (English);
  • chiffon de papier ("scrap of paper") (fr.);
  • Geschreibsel ("daub, illegible writings") (German)

Remember: the workflow in vast Russia is so great that no one will read the stupid message of a crap.

So that the document you submitted is not a diploma, study the features of the official business style and adhere to the established pattern.

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