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13 Essential Literary Terms

fluke1

[flook] /fluk/
noun
1.
the part of an anchor that catches in the ground, especially the flat triangular piece at the end of each arm.
2.
a barb, or the barbed head, of a harpoon, spear, arrow, or the like.
3.
either half of the triangular tail of a whale.
Origin
1555-1565
1555-65; perhaps special use of fluke3

fluke2

[flook] /fluk/
noun
1.
an accidental advantage; stroke of good luck:
He got the job by a fluke.
2.
an accident or chance happening.
3.
an accidentally successful stroke, as in billiards.
Origin
1855-60; of obscure origin; compare dial. fluke a guess

fluke3

[flook] /fluk/
noun
1.
any of several American flounders of the genus Paralichthys, especially P. dentatus, found in the Atlantic Ocean.
2.
any of various other flatfishes.
3.
a trematode.
Origin
before 900; Middle English flok(e), fluke, Old English flōc; cognate with Old Norse flōki; compare Old High German flah flat (German flach)
Related forms
flukeless, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for flukes
  • He has a pointed beak, a tail with fins or flukes, grey skin and wears green armor.
  • This formation allows them to use their powerful flukes to repel the orcas.
British Dictionary definitions for flukes

fluke1

/fluːk/
noun
1.
Also called flue. a flat bladelike projection at the end of the arm of an anchor
2.
either of the two lobes of the tail of a whale or related animal
3.
Also called flue. the barb or barbed head of a harpoon, arrow, etc
Word Origin
C16: perhaps a special use of fluke³ (in the sense: a flounder)

fluke2

/fluːk/
noun
1.
an accidental stroke of luck
2.
any chance happening
verb
3.
(transitive) to gain, make, or hit by a fluke
Word Origin
C19: of unknown origin

fluke3

/fluːk/
noun
1.
any parasitic flatworm, such as the blood fluke and liver fluke, of the classes Monogenea and Digenea (formerly united in a single class Trematoda)
2.
another name for flounder2 (sense 1)
Word Origin
Old English flōc; related to Old Norse flōki flounder, Old Saxon flaka sole, Old High German flah smooth
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 flukes

fluke

n.

"flat end of an arm of an anchor," 1560s, perhaps from fluke (n.3) on resemblance of shape, or from Low German flügel "wing." Meaning "whale's tail" (in plural, flukes) is 1725.

"lucky stroke, chance hit," 1857, originally a lucky shot at billiards, of uncertain origin.

"flatfish," Old English floc "flatfish," related to Old Norse floke "flatfish," flak "disk, floe" (see flake (n.)). The parasite worm (1660s) so called from resemblance of shape.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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flukes in Medicine

fluke 1 (flōōk)
n.
See trematode.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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flukes in Science
fluke
  (flk)   
  1. Either of the two flattened fins of a whale's tail.

  2. See trematode.


The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for flukes

fluke

noun

A good or bad stroke of luck; an extraordinary and unpredictable event: My winning was just a fluke/ We got onto that flight by a fluke

[1857+; origin unknown, but perhaps fr fluke, ''flatfish,'' by way of an early 1800s British slang sense of flat, ''easy dupe, victim,'' altered in billiards jargon to fluke, to characterize the seeming chicanery of a good stroke of luck]


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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