Filled In: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
December 25, 2023

The phrase "filled in" is often heard when someone talks about completing a task, replacing someone, or being updated about certain information. It's a versatile term that can be used in many different situations. For instance, if you missed a day at school, you might ask a friend to "fill you in" on what you missed. Or if there's a hole in your yard, you might want to get it "filled in."

In short:

  • It can mean completing blank spaces with information.
  • It can also refer to updating someone with the latest information or details.

What Does "Filled In" Mean?

When someone uses the phrase "filled in," they often refer to a task of completing or updating something. This could be about adding information where it's missing or updating someone on a recent event. For instance, if you're handed a form, you might be asked to "fill in the blanks." Or if you were absent from a meeting, a colleague might "fill you in" on what was discussed.

Here's a closer look at its different uses:

  • It's about adding details or information to something incomplete.
  • The phrase can be used when you need to be updated on something you missed.
  • It can refer to physically adding material to a space or gap, like filling in a hole.
  • It might mean temporarily replacing someone in their role in a work setting.
  • Similar phrases are "fill out," "update me," and "stand in for."

Where Does "Filled In" Come From?

The exact roots of "filled in" are a bit unclear. However, the word "fill" has been in English for centuries, stemming from the Old English word "fyllan," which means to fill up or make full. The term "filled in," as we understand it today, has probably evolved as language and usage changed and became more varied.

10 Examples of "Filled In" in Sentences

To help you understand when to use this phrase, here are some examples from different situations:

  • When I was away, my coworker filled me in on the latest updates from the office.
  • I was in awe when I saw the mural that the artist had filled in with vibrant colors.
  • Since the main actor was sick, his understudy filled in for the night's performance.
  • I missed the team meeting, so could you fill me in on what was discussed?
  • It was all for naught when the rain filled the holes I had dug in the garden.
  • He was filled in about the changes to the project during lunch.
  • Is there anything else you need me to complete before filling in the application form?
  • The show must go on, even if the lead actor has not been filled in on the script changes.
  • When the teacher was absent, a substitute filled in.
  • The contractor filled in the gaps between the tiles with grout.

Examples of "Filled In" in Pop Culture

While this phrase is more common in everyday language, it occasionally appears in pop culture, often when someone needs to be informed or updated.

Here's a peek at some examples:

  • In Lurgan, a series of deep potholes that had been frustrating drivers and damaging cars were mysteriously filled in.
  • In the article "Fibonacci numbers in popular culture," it is mentioned: "The missing section (2, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8) is later filled in during the second verse." This article discusses the intriguing appearances of Fibonacci numbers in various forms of media, including songs where these sequences are creatively incorporated.
  • In an interview with The New York Times about 'The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins said: "I knew 12 would be coal and most of the others were set, but I had a few blanks that naturally filled in as the story evolved."

Synonyms: Other/Different Ways to Say "Filled In"

Here are some other phrases you can use that share the same idea:

  • Update me
  • Tell me what happened
  • Let me know
  • Catch me up
  • Bring me up to speed
  • Inform me
  • Complete the details
  • Substitute for
  • Add to
  • Give me the latest

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "Filled In":

  • What does "filled in" mean?

"Filled in" means to complete missing parts or details of something or to be informed about a particular matter. It can refer to physical actions like filling in a form, or being given information about a topic or event you missed.

  • How can I use "filled in" in a sentence?

You can use it as a verb phrase to describe the act of providing or receiving information or details. For example: "She filled in the gaps of the story for me" or "I filled in the application with my details.

  • Is it mostly used in formal or everyday situations?

"Filled in" can be used in both formal and everyday situations. In formal settings, it might be about completing official paperwork. In everyday talk, it could be about catching up on news or events.

  • Does "filled in" only relate to written content?

No, it doesn't only relate to written content. It can also refer to getting information verbally, like when someone fills you in on the latest news.

  • Can "filled in" refer to a person's role or job?

Yes, "filled in" can refer to someone taking over a role or job temporarily, like when a substitute teacher fills in for the regular teacher.

  • How is it different from "updated"?

While both "filled in" and "updated" involve providing information, "filled in" often implies providing missing details or context, whereas "updated" usually means giving the latest information or changes.

  • Can "filled in" be about physical actions?

Yes, "filled in" can refer to physical actions, like when an artist fills in a sketch with color or someone fills in a hole in the ground.

  • Is it used more in written or spoken language?

It's used in both written and spoken language. In written form, it might appear in instructions or forms, and in spoken language, it's commonly used in conversations to catch up or provide details.

  • Can "filled in" be used in technical or specific fields?

Yes, "filled in" can be used in technical fields or specific areas, like when an engineer fills in details of a blueprint or a doctor fills in a patient's medical history.

  • Does it mean that the person being "filled in" lacks knowledge?

Not always. Being "filled in" just means getting additional or missing information. It doesn't necessarily imply a lack of prior knowledge or understanding.

Final Thoughts About "Filled In"

The phrase "filled in" is useful for adding or receiving details or information in various contexts. It's helpful in work, personal, and educational situations and ensures clarity and understanding.

Here's a quick recap:

  • "Filled in" can mean providing or receiving details or information.
  • It's versatile and fits both formal and informal settings.
  • The phrase can refer to both physical actions and informational contexts.
  • Understanding or using "filled in" ensures effective communication and clarity.

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