from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of various flatfishes, especially a flounder of the genus Paralichthys.
  • n. See trematode.
  • n. Nautical The triangular blade at the end of an arm of an anchor, designed to catch in the ground.
  • n. A barb or barbed head, as on an arrow or a harpoon.
  • n. Either of the two horizontally flattened divisions of the tail of a whale.
  • n. A stroke of good luck.
  • n. A chance occurrence; an accident.
  • n. Games An accidentally good or successful stroke in billiards or pool.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A lucky or improbable occurrence, with the implication that the occurrence could not be repeated.
  • v. To obtain a successful outcome by pure chance.
  • v. To fortuitously pot a ball in an unintended way.
  • n. A flounder.
  • n. A trematode; a parasitic flatworm of the Trematoda class, related to the tapeworm.
  • n. Either of the two lobes of a whale's or similar creature's tail.
  • n. Any of the triangular blades at the end of an anchor, designed to catch the ground.
  • n. A metal hook on the head of certain staff weapons (such as a bill), made in various forms depending on function, whether used for grappling or to penetrate armour when swung at an opponent.
  • n. In general, a winglike formation on a central piece.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The European flounder. See flounder.
  • n. Any American flounder of the genus Paralichthys, especially Paralicthys dentatus, found in the Atlantic Ocean and in adjacent bays.
  • n. A parasitic trematode worm of several species, having a flat, lanceolate body and two suckers. Two species (Fasciola hepatica and Distoma lanceolatum) are found in the livers of sheep, and produce the disease called rot.
  • n. The part of an anchor which fastens in the ground; a flook. See anchor.
  • n. One of the lobes of a whale's tail, so called from the resemblance to the fluke of an anchor.
  • n. An instrument for cleaning out a hole drilled in stone for blasting.
  • n. An accidental and favorable stroke at billiards (called a scratch in the United States); hence, any accidental or unexpected advantage.
  • v. To get or score by a fluke.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • In whaling: To disable the flukes of, as a whale, by spading.
  • To fasten, as a whale, by means of a chain or rope.
  • In whaling, to use the flukes, as a fish or cetacean: often with an indefinite it.
  • To gain an advantage over a competitor or opponent by accident or chance; especially, to make a scratch in billiards. See fluke, n., 5.
  • In shooting, to hit by a chance shot.
  • n. The part of an anchor which catches in the ground. See anchor.
  • n. One of the barbs of a harpoon or toggle-iron; a flue: called by English whalemen wither.
  • n. Either half of the tail of a cetacean or sirenian: so called from its resemblance to the fluke of an anchor.
  • n. In mining, an instrument used to clean a hole previous to charging it with powder for blasting.
  • n. [⟨ fluke, verb] In billiards, an accidentally successful stroke; the advantage gained when, playing for one thing, one gets another; hence, any unexpected or accidental advantage or turn; a chance; a scratch.
  • n. Hence— To become refractory or mutinous; make a disturbance on board ship.
  • n. Hence— To go to bed; bunk or turn in.
  • n. A name given locally in Great Britain to species of flatfish.
  • n. A trematoid worm; an entozoic parasitic worm of the order Trematoidea, infesting various parts of man and other animals, especially the liver, bile-ducts, etc.: so called from the resemblance of its hydatid to a fluke or flounder.
  • n. Waste cotton.
  • n. A lock of hair.
  • n. A result of accident or lucky chance rather than of skill.
  • n. A failure, as of a yacht-race for lack of wind.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a stroke of luck
  • n. a barb on a harpoon or arrow
  • n. either of the two lobes of the tail of a cetacean
  • n. flat bladelike projection on the arm of an anchor
  • n. parasitic flatworms having external suckers for attaching to a host


Middle English, from Old English flōc; see plāk-1 in Indo-European roots.
Possibly from fluke1.
Origin unknown.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Old English floc ("flatfish"), related to Old Norse floke ("flatfish") (Wiktionary)
Possibly as Etymology 2 or from Middle Low German flügel ("wing") (Wiktionary)


  • No matter what time of year I'm fishing, a fluke is the first bait I'll tie on.

    Flukin' Largemouth

  • Before anyone says that this was going to happen anyway, remember that political pros were saying two years ago that Napolitano was a one term fluke, early this year Republicans were salivating about a possible 2/3 majority House and Senate, and it took some foresight to see that a decent candidate could be recruited to take out J.

    Archive 2006-12-01

  • The talk in Republican circles as well as among some Democrats, you know who you are! was that Napolitano was a one term fluke who would be easily beaten by any Republican, maybe even Joe Sweeney.

    Archive 2005-08-01

  • The best reason for optimism with regard to German cinema right now, and a reason we can hope without feeling foolish that 2006 has not been some fluke, is that successes have been spread all up and down the scales, from the box office smashes made by populist entertainments like Perfume and the World Cup documentary Deutschland.

    GreenCine Daily: Random bullet-point-fire. 2006.

  • Faine, 6-foot-3, 291 pounds, missed the last two games last season after what he called a fluke injury when his right biceps snapped during a block. - Notes: Eagles deal H. Thomas, Hicks; Browns ask about Harrington

  • Outside his field, however, he's best known for something he calls a fluke: for drawing autopsy duty when the particular corpse Steiner had been waiting for came along.

    Chicago Reader

  • It's unclear if the bigger jump in unemployment for black workers is a short-term fluke, said Local News

  • "If they make it I wouldn't say the word fluke, but it's going to be very difficult." local, state, business and sports news

  • She obviously views him very positively.....12/02/2006 12:25:00 AM|W|P| Anonymous|W|P|"political pros were saying 2 years ago that Napolitano was a 1 term fluke ..."

    Archive 2006-12-01

  • The inherent stupidity of not re-taking the exam, rather than one’s particular score in the instance of a fluke, is the issue.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Why Jews and Catholics on the Supreme Court?


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  • Was used in the context of :

    A stroke of good luck.
    A chance occurrence; an accident.
    Games An accidentally good or successful stroke in billiards or pool.

    April 5, 2011

  • Public School Slang: to shirk.

    April 14, 2009