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[floo] /flu/
a specific variety of influenza, usually named for its point of dissemination or its animal vector:
Hong Kong flu; swine flu.
Origin of flu
First recorded in 1830-40; shortened form
Can be confused
flew, flu, flue. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for flu
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Then he was taken down with the 'flu' and had to give up study.

    Galusha the Magnificent Joseph C. Lincoln
  • I wish some of those fellows with the flu could have you to look after them.

    Quin Alice Hegan Rice
  • If he were on Earth, he would be certain it was the flu; in the Centaurus system, kranken.

    Bolden's Pets F. L. Wallace
  • If he hadn't gone with the flu, that ranch'd been paid for in another year.

    Polly and Eleanor Lillian Elizabeth Roy
  • "Was sure I was coming down with the flu," Clavering mumbled.

    Black Oxen

    Gertrude Franklin Horn Atherton
British Dictionary definitions for flu


noun (informal)
the flu, short for influenza
any of various viral infections, esp a respiratory or intestinal infection
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
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Word Origin and History for flu

1839, flue, shortening of influenza. Spelling flu attested from 1893. For choice of middle syllable, not a common method of shortening in English, Weekley compares tec for detective, scrip for subscription.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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flu in Medicine

flu (flōō)

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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flu in Science
See influenza.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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