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  1. a native of Flanders.
  2. a Flemish-speaking Belgian.

Origin of Fleming1

1350–1400; Middle English < Middle Dutch Vlaeminc, equivalent to Vlaem- (see Flemish) + -ing -ing3; late Old English Flæming perhaps < Old Frisian


  1. Sir Alexander,1881–1955, Scottish bacteriologist and physician: discoverer of penicillin 1928; Nobel Prize in Medicine 1945.
  2. Ian (Lancaster),1908–64, British writer of suspense novels.
  3. Peggy (Gale),born 1948, U.S. figure skater.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for fleming

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • There was a flash of anger in the girl's eye, but, in spite of it, Fleming continued.

  • Fleming pulled a sheet of paper towards him, and drew on it an oval.

  • Fleming drew from a point in the centre several radiating lines.

  • Go on, Mr. Fleming; who else was there besides Crupper, Smollet, and yourself?'

  • His name was Fleming, and he claimed to be a New York politician.

British Dictionary definitions for fleming


  1. a native or inhabitant of Flanders or a Flemish-speaking BelgianCompare Walloon

Word Origin

C14: from Middle Dutch Vlaminc


  1. Sir Alexander . 1881–1955, Scottish bacteriologist: discovered lysozyme (1922) and penicillin (1928): shared the Nobel prize for physiology or medicine in 1945
  2. Ian (Lancaster). 1908–64, English author of spy novels; creator of the secret agent James Bond
  3. Sir John Ambrose . 1849–1945, English electrical engineer: invented the thermionic valve (1904)
  4. Renée . born 1959, US operatic soprano and songwriter
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for fleming



Old English Flæming "native or inhabitant of Flanders," and Old Frisian Fleming, from Proto-Germanic *Flam- (cf. Medieval Latin Flamingus); see Flanders.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

fleming in Medicine


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  1. British bacteriologist who discovered penicillin in 1928. He shared a 1945 Nobel Prize for this achievement.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

fleming in Science


  1. Scottish bacteriologist who discovered penicillin in 1928. The drug was developed and purified 11 years later by Howard Florey and Ernst Chain, with whom Fleming shared the 1945 Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine. Fleming was also the first to administer typhoid vaccines to humans.
Biography: Many famous scientific discoveries come about by accident, and such was the case with penicillin. The first and still best-known antibiotic, penicillin is a natural substance excreted by a type of mold of the genus Penicillium. It so happened that a Scottish bacteriologist, Alexander Fleming, was doing research on staphylococcal bacteria in the late 1920s and noticed that one culture had become contaminated with some mold. What was curious was that there was a circular area around the mold that was free of bacterial growth. After some investigation, Fleming discerned that the mold was excreting a substance deadly to the bacteria, and he named it penicillin in the mold's honor. Fleming had already discovered another natural antibacterial substance a few years earlier in 1921-lysozyme, an enzyme contained in tears and saliva. But the discovery of penicillin was of far greater importance, although its impact was not fully felt right away because Fleming lacked the equipment necessary to isolate the active compound and to synthesize it in quantities that could be used medicinally. This happened a dozen years later during World War II and stimulated the development of new drugs that could fight infections transmitted on the battlefield. Two other scientists, Ernst Chain and Howard Florey, were responsible for this further work, and together with Fleming the three shared the 1945 Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine.


  1. British physicist and electrical engineer who devised the first electron tube in 1904. His invention was essential to the development of radio, television, and early computer circuitry. Fleming also helped develop electric devices designed for large-scale use, such as the electric lamp.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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