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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
1830-40; shortened form
Can be confused
flew, flu, flue. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for flu
  • The flu is an infection of the nose, throat, and lungs.
  • Your best defense is to wash your hands often, especially during cold and flu season.
  • These could provide a three-month head start in making seasonal flu vaccines.
  • Vaccines being made to protect people from swine flu may not be so healthy for threatened species of sharks.
  • The flu is a contagious respiratory disease caused by an influenza virus.
  • Journalists serve the public with their daily reports about our studies of flu vaccines and voting patterns and hominid fossils.
  • In fact, a pandemic of mild flu ought to be easier to control than several local epidemics as occur every year.
  • Why the flu is worse in winter than summer has long baffled scientists.
  • The deadliest flu strain in history has been resurrected.
  • Here's a well-reasoned explanation as to why one reasonably smart and well-informed family won't be getting flu shots this year.
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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Related Abbreviations for flu


The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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