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  1. a passage or duct for smoke in a chimney.
  2. any duct or passage for air, gas, or the like.
  3. a tube, especially a large one, in a fire-tube boiler.
  4. Music.
    1. flue pipe.
    2. Also called windway.a narrow slit in the upper end of an organ pipe through which the air current is directed.

Origin of flue1

1555–65; earlier flew, perhaps representing Old English flēwsa a flowing, the form flews being taken as plural
Can be confusedflew flu flue


  1. downy matter; fluff.

Origin of flue2

1580–90; perhaps to be identified with Old English flug- (in flugol swift, fleeting); akin to fly1. Compare Low German flug


or flew

  1. a fishing net.

Origin of flue3

1350–1400; Middle English flowe; compare Middle Dutch vluwe fishing net
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for flue

Historical Examples

  • The chimney-pot to which he had to fix the flue was in the middle of the roof.


    Emile Zola

  • Dirty finger-prints were on the hall-windows, flue and rubbish on its unwashed boards.

    Howards End

    E. M. Forster

  • Anyway I got doubled up somehow; and that's the reason I stuck in the flue.

  • In these days, how common is it to provide rooms with only a flue for a stove!

  • The cross-section area of the flue is likely to prove the most common difficulty.

    Making a Fireplace

    Henry H. Saylor

British Dictionary definitions for flue


  1. a shaft, tube, or pipe, esp as used in a chimney, to carry off smoke, gas, etc
  2. music the passage in an organ pipe or flute within which a vibrating air column is set upSee also flue pipe

Word Origin

C16: of unknown origin


  1. loose fluffy matter; down

Word Origin

C16: from Flemish vluwe, from Old French velu shaggy



  1. a type of fishing net

Word Origin

Middle English, from Middle Dutch vlūwe


  1. another word for fluke 1 (def. 1), fluke 1
Derived Formsflued, adjective
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 flue


"smoke channel in a chimney," 1580s, perhaps related to 15c. word meaning "mouthpiece of a hunting horn," or perhaps from Old English flowan "to flow," and/or Old French fluie "stream."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper