Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Nautical The triangular blade at the end of an arm of an anchor, designed to catch in the ground.
  • noun A barb or barbed head, as on an arrow or a harpoon.
  • noun Either of the two horizontally flattened divisions of the tail of a whale.
  • noun Any of numerous parasitic flatworms, including the trematodes, some of which infect humans, and the monogeneans, which are chiefly ectoparasites of fish.
  • noun Any of various flatfishes chiefly of the genus Paralichthys, especially the summer flounder.
  • noun A chance occurrence.
  • noun Games An accidentally good or successful stroke in billiards or pool.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • 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.
  • noun A name given locally in Great Britain to species of flatfish.
  • noun 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.
  • noun Waste cotton.
  • noun A lock of hair.
  • noun The part of an anchor which catches in the ground. See anchor.
  • noun One of the barbs of a harpoon or toggle-iron; a flue: called by English whalemen wither.
  • noun Either half of the tail of a cetacean or sirenian: so called from its resemblance to the fluke of an anchor.
  • noun In mining, an instrument used to clean a hole previous to charging it with powder for blasting.
  • noun [⟨ 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.
  • noun Hence— To become refractory or mutinous; make a disturbance on board ship.
  • noun Hence— To go to bed; bunk or turn in.
  • noun A result of accident or lucky chance rather than of skill.
  • noun A failure, as of a yacht-race for lack of wind.
  • In shooting, to hit by a chance shot.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • verb Slang To get or score by a fluke.
  • noun The part of an anchor which fastens in the ground; a flook. See anchor.
  • noun (Zoöl.) One of the lobes of a whale's tail, so called from the resemblance to the fluke of an anchor.
  • noun An instrument for cleaning out a hole drilled in stone for blasting.
  • noun Cant, Eng. An accidental and favorable stroke at billiards (called a scratch in the United States); hence, any accidental or unexpected advantage.
  • noun (Zoöl.) The European flounder. See flounder.
  • noun (Zoöl.) Any American flounder of the genus Paralichthys, especially Paralicthys dentatus, found in the Atlantic Ocean and in adjacent bays.
  • noun (Zoöl.) 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.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A flounder.
  • noun A trematode; a parasitic flatworm of the Trematoda class, related to the tapeworm.
  • noun Either of the two lobes of a whale's or similar creature's tail.
  • noun nautical Any of the triangular blades at the end of an anchor, designed to catch the ground.
  • noun 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.
  • noun In general, a winglike formation on a central piece.
  • noun A lucky or improbable occurrence, with the implication that the occurrence could not be repeated.
  • verb To obtain a successful outcome by pure chance.
  • verb snooker To fortuitously pot a ball in an unintended way.

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

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

Etymologies

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

[Possibly from fluke.]

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

[Middle English, flounder, flatfish, from Old English flōc; see plāk- in Indo-European roots. Sense 1, from the flounderlike shape of sheep flukes .]

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

[Origin unknown.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old English floc ("flatfish"), related to Old Norse floke ("flatfish")

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Possibly as Etymology 2 or from Middle Low German flügel ("wing")

Examples

  • 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.

    USATODAY.com - 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

    Postbulletin.com Local News

  • "If they make it I wouldn't say the word fluke, but it's going to be very difficult."

    Nashuatelegraph.com 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?

Comments

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  • Public School Slang: to shirk.

    April 14, 2009

  • 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