flu

\ \ [19] Flu is short for influenza [18]. The first record of its use is in a letter of 1839 by the poet Robert Southey (who spelled it, as was commonly the practice in the 19th century, flue): ‘I have had a pretty fair share of the Flue’. Influenza means literally ‘influence’ in Italian, and was used metaphorically for the ‘outbreak of a particular disease’ (hence an influenza di febbre scarlattina was an ‘outbreak of scarlet fever’, a ‘scarlet fever epidemic’). The severe epidemic of the disease we now know as flu, which struck Italy in 1743 and spread from there throughout Europe, was called an influenza di catarrocatarrh epidemic’, or simply an influenza – and hence influenza became the English word for the disease.
\ \ Cf.INFLUENCE, INFLUENZA

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • flu — [flu:] n [U] [Date: 1800 1900; Origin: influenza] a common illness that makes you feel very tired and weak, gives you a sore throat, and makes you cough and have to clear your nose a lot = ↑influenza ▪ Steven s still in bed with flu . ▪ She s got …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • flu — [ flu ] noun uncount * a very common infectious disease that lasts a short time and makes you feel hot or cold, weak, and tired: INFLUENZA: He s in bed with flu. the flu: I ve got the flu …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • flu- — ⇒FLU(O) , FLUOR , (FLU , FLUO )élément de compos. Élém. de compos. toujours vivant, tiré de fluor, servant à construire des termes de chim. dont le signifié a un rapport avec le fluor. I. [Forme flu(o) ] A. [Sert à former des adj. Le 2e élém. est …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • flu´id|ly — flu|id «FLOO ihd», noun, adjective. –n. any liquid or gas; something that will flow. Water, mercury, air, and oxygen are fluids. SYNONYM(S): See syn. under liquid. (Cf. ↑liquid) –adj. 1. like a liquid or gas; flowing: »She poured the fluid mass… …   Useful english dictionary

  • flu|id — «FLOO ihd», noun, adjective. –n. any liquid or gas; something that will flow. Water, mercury, air, and oxygen are fluids. SYNONYM(S): See syn. under liquid. (Cf. ↑liquid) –adj. 1. like a liquid or gas; flowing: »She poured the fluid mass of hot… …   Useful english dictionary

  • flȕīd — m 〈G flȕida〉 1. {{001f}}a. {{001f}}svaka tvar, kao što je voda ili zrak, koja teče i može poprimiti oblik tijela u kojem se nalazi (tekućina, sok, izlučina, plin) b. {{001f}}〈mn〉 kem. zajednički naziv za tekućine i plinove 2. {{001f}}razg.… …   Veliki rječnik hrvatskoga jezika

  • flu — adj. invar., s.n. 1. adj. invar. (Despre îmbrăcăminte) Vaporos. 2. adj. invar. (Despre imagini) Cu contururi imprecise, estompate. 3. s.n. Efect fotografic care dă evanescenţă contururilor. [Scris şi: flou] – Din fr. flou …   Dicționar Român

  • flu — 1839, flue, shortening of INFLUENZA (Cf. 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 …   Etymology dictionary

  • flü — flü·gel; flü·gel·horn; …   English syllables

  • flu — a 19c shortening of influenza, is used (with or without the) as often as the full form, except in more formal contexts. The older form flu (with initial apostrophe) has dropped out of use …   Modern English usage

  • Flu- — ↑ Fluor (1) …   Universal-Lexikon

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