• Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Philopena A present or gift which is made as a forfeit in a social game that is played in various ways; also, the game itself.☞ One of the ways may be stated as follows: A person finding a nut with two kernels eats one, and gives the other to a person of the opposite sex, and then whichever says philopena first at the next meeting wins the present. The name is also applied to the kernels eaten.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n philopena 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 philopena The salutation in the game or custom thus described.
    • n philopena The kernel of the nut used in the game.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Philopena fil-ō-pē′na a game in which each of two persons eats a twin kernel of a nut, and one pays a forfeit to the other on certain conditions: the gift made as a forfeit, or the twin kernels shared.
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Probably a corruption fr. G. vielliebchen, LG. vielliebken, or D. veelliebken, a philopena, literally, much loved; but influenced by Gr. a friend, and L. poena, penalty, from an idea that the gift was a penalty of friendship or love
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Ger. vielliebchenviel, much, liebchen, sweetheart.


In literature:

I can't help it if the boys send me philopena presents, as they do to the other girls.
"An Old-fashioned Girl" by Louisa May Alcott
They often thought of the philopena they had eaten together, and wondered if they should know each other when they met.
"The Bee-Man of Orn and Other Fanciful Tales" by Frank R. Stockton
Steve came in and teased the girls and begged them to eat philopenas with him.
"A Little Girl in Old New York" by Amanda Millie Douglas
These are called Philopenas, and you must never waste them by eating both yourself, but find some one to share them with.
"What Shall We Do Now?: Five Hundred Games and Pastimes" by Dorothy Canfield Fisher
It was Swifty's face, and Swifty's hair, but the costume was a philopena.
"Side-stepping with Shorty" by Sewell Ford
But Laura could not remind him of his forgetfulness, otherwise she would win the philopena.
"The Lost Manuscript" by Gustav Freytag
We must eat a philopena to-day and then we'll call it square.
"The Harvard Classics Shelf of Fiction - German" by J. W. von Goethe
Another, and highly reprehensible way of extorting a gift, is to have what is called a philopena with a gentleman.
"The Ladies' Guide to True Politeness and Perfect Manners" by Eliza Leslie
I wish to thank him for my philopena, which came late last night.
"Horace Chase" by Constance Fenimore Woolson