We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

What is a Filtrum?

By Ron Marr
Updated: May 16, 2024

Few people have ever heard of a filtrum, and yet it is usually as plain as the nose on one’s face. To be a bit more accurate, the filtrum is as plain as the area just under the nose on one’s face. It is no less than the name of the vertical groove found in the middle of the upper lip. More commonly it is known as a philtrum, or if you prefer to use the medical term, the infransal depression.

Other than being a very valuable piece of knowledge that can be displayed during trivia games, the filtrum serves no definite purpose. Some researchers think that it might help humans to form different sounds during speech, allowing the lips a certain freedom of movement. Having a filtrum is perfectly normal; the lack of this dimple is sometimes a sign of either fetal alcohol syndrome or mental retardation. The filtrum forms during embryonic development, and if the two sides of the upper lip fail to fully fuse, a person may be born with a cleft lip.

Dogs and cats also have filtrums. They are two of the few mammals in the animal kingdom, besides humans, that possess the feature. For the Lassie and Garfield set, however, the name applies to the meeting points of the two sides of the nose. The shallow groove serves no more purpose on these domesticated creatures than it does on humans.

On the other hand, filtrums are widely mentioned in mythology. Ancient Greeks considered it one of the most erogenous zones on the body, which is no small accomplishment when one considers that the ancient Greeks were heavily into the erotic aspects of life. Why early Greeks considered the filtrum such a sexy little dimple is not recorded in the writings or poetry of the time.

In the Talmud, it is written that angels teach babies all the world’s wisdom while they are still in the womb. As the story goes, the angel touches the baby under his nose just before birth. Some say this is to make the child forget that the angel was present, while others claim that it is a reminder to never speak of the heavenly secrets that have been imparted. In any case, the resulting depression caused by the angel’s finger is the filtrum.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon203090 — On Aug 04, 2011

Thank you for your information. Very educational, indeed.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.