One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
An unlikely chance occurrence, especially a surprising piece of luck.‘their victory was a bit of a fluke’
chance, coincidence, accident, a twist of fateView synonyms
- ‘The fluke was a bit insipid, but then again this was a test-run: after this first experience, I'm willing to give anything Todd serves a second go.’
- ‘‘My modeling career was a bit of a fluke,’ she says.’
- ‘We would say, in fact, that B's failure to castle was a fluke, bad luck with the random number generator.’
- ‘And you'll never know the joy that fans in the rest of the country will experience when the fluke happens and the Yankees lose this year.’
- ‘As it turns out, they're not that great a side and that win was a bit of a fluke, but I think they've got the potential to make the finals - they just need a coach who isn't a bleached blonde surfer dude flake.’
- ‘On the tiny chance it was a fluke, I'm banking on my artistic abilities.’
- ‘It's the only song I scored as low as Switzerland which, through luck, fluke or divine intervention, received precisely the number of points it deserved: a big fat zero.’
- ‘It was a bit of a fluke but everyone at the club was delighted and so was I.’
- ‘Charlie's condition is a fluke so the chance of any future siblings having it are just one in 50.’
- ‘Luck, in the sense of a fluke occurrence, had nothing to do with it.’
- ‘Contrary to what Bettman might think, a fluke occurrence can not be used as precedent: after all, a fluke occurrence is by definition rare.’
- ‘Some of them, by genetic fluke or bad luck, are not here even by choice, unconscious or no.’
- ‘I left that meeting with the shooters confident my experience was simply a fluke, an accident that was so unlikely it never could happen again.’
- ‘If Helena's experience wasn't a fluke, something similar should have happened in other jurisdictions with smoking bans.’
- ‘For many of us, success and failure turn on lucky breaks and fluke occurrences - starting most importantly with the accident of birth.’
- ‘The confidence is brewing in Southern California, and the Bolts are out to prove last year's surprise was less fluke and more the start of a trend.’
- ‘Pile said the fire was a fluke occurrence and doesn't indicate a problem with the submarines.’
- ‘As may be imagined, this capture, not so much a fluke as a surprise gave me cause to rethink my fishing plans on the lake.’
- ‘There's a huge amount of fluke and chance and accident.’
- ‘When we got it last year we felt it was a bit of a fluke but then we turned around and did it two years on the trot.’
Achieve (something) by luck rather than skill.
- ‘Maybe you fluked your way through the trials, hmmm?’
- ‘All of my happiness is therefore underpinned by a nagging sense of under-achievement, of doubt, of feeling that all of this has been fluked rather than earned.’
- ‘But Coco sets high standards and so has gone head to paw with the Swinburne Uni computer, which has fluked a score of 97 after Round 18.’
- ‘I played very loose in contrast to the rest of the night's play and got ahead quite quickly thanks to fluking four of a kind early on.’
- ‘It is not like Leeds fluked this win either, in what was an extremely patchy game.’
- ‘I can fire random numbers at you until I fluke it if you want, but that's as good as you're going to get.’
- ‘Millwall haven't fluked their way into the final and the Reds could have an off day.’
- ‘In light of how jammy they were across the first 45 minutes yesterday it is a wonder they have never managed even to fluke a Scottish Cup win.’
- ‘Spurs fans will be getting excited now they've fluked a win and there's not a pensioner in sight in the forwards.’
- ‘For some in his side, Scotland simply fluked a win that condemned their country to only a second defeat in 17 matches.’
- ‘Maybe she had done one of them beforehand or maybe she fluked it.’
- ‘West Ham gave it both barrels, as they say in cockney crime caper films, but somehow Liverpool fluked another trophy thanks to Steven Gerrard's heroics.’
- ‘Happy accidents exist, but they are extremely rare, and they are almost always fluked by people who aren't professional photographers.’
Mid 19th century (originally a term in games such as billiards denoting a lucky stroke): perhaps a dialect word.
1A parasitic flatworm which typically has suckers and hooks for attachment to the host. Some species are of veterinary or medical importance.
- ‘The medically important flatworms are further divided into the flukes and tapeworms (Cestoda).’
- ‘Once infected with flukes, for instance, some species of snails have only a month or so before the parasites castrate them and turn them into food-gathering slaves.’
- ‘In Asia the species is known to host parasitic lung flukes, which can infect humans if the crabs are eaten undercooked.’
- ‘Primary common bile duct stones are more common in Asian populations because of the increased prevalence of flukes and parasitic infections, such as clonorchiasis, fascioliasis and ascariasis.’
- ‘This is one of the critical times of the year when action should be taken to treat cattle for the control of fluke and worms.’
2North American dialect A flatfish, especially a flounder.
- ‘The fluke, a flatfish similar to flounder, scratched that special itch for me.’
- ‘Seafood specialties like halibut, fluke, and grouper and the unique world of micro greens have done much to influence his opinion of American food culture.’
- ‘With flounder, sole, fluke, turbot, halibut, bass, trout, John Dory or orange roughy, we must tread lightly, especially with regard to bitterness.’
Old English flōc (in fluke (sense 2)), of Germanic origin; related to German flach ‘flat’.
1A broad triangular plate on the arm of an anchor.
- ‘At Zephyros, in 30m of water, the flukes of a sizeable anchor are visible, the chain running along the base of a cliff which rises spectacularly some 10m off the seabed.’
- ‘On Vanderlin, rubbish left by Asiatics: a wooden anchor with one fluke, three boat rudders of violet wood, remains of blue cotton trousers.’
- ‘Having said that, on the seabed to the port side of the bows lies a large iron pendant, perhaps the remains of an anchor with broken flukes.’
- ‘Hanging from the centre of the dome is an anchor shape with red and green lanterns at the end of the anchor flukes.’
2Either of the lobes of a whale's tail.
- ‘Calambokidis' team has photographed and recognized around 1,500 blue whales by tail fluke and back markings.’
- ‘Ambulocetus apparently swam much like an otter, with an up-and-down motion of the spine, the precursor to the motion of the flukes of a whale's tail.’
- ‘And often the tail fluke of a whale or the back fin of a dolphin will show as a dark patch against the paler surface of the sea.’
- ‘In addition, a gray whale when diving nearly always shows its tail flukes (fluke-up dive).’
- ‘They also practice bottom feeding and are observed in the lagoons with their immature tail stocks and flukes sticking straight up in the air.’
- ‘He had a ‘not very good’ minke whale steak in a restaurant in Oslo, he ate blue whale in Canada, and bought flakes of bowhead tail flukes in a supermarket in California.’
- ‘Back on the boat and heading to shore, we spotted a spout, a fin and then the flukes of a humpback whale.’
- ‘The pectoral fins and flukes of males are also larger than those of females.’
- ‘Many whales are alive today, and they swim by dorsoventral undulation of their tail flukes.’
- ‘Similar to the patterns on humpback whale flukes, unique markings on the dolphins' dorsal fins allow for individual identification.’
- ‘Whales have streamlike bodies with highly compressed neck vertebrae, dorsal fins, and a tail with two finlike flukes arranged horizontally.’
- ‘Position of control surfaces (ie., flippers, fin, flukes, peduncle) provides a generally stable design with respect to an arrow model.’
- ‘The tail fluke lacks a medial notch and the flippers are small and pointed.’
- ‘The boat team tracks the whales, takes photographs of the humpback's unique tail flukes and snips off small DNA skin samples or biopsies, using special darts.’
- ‘We have six humpback whales who are individually recognisable by their tail flukes.’
- ‘Ambulocetus is cited as showing that spinal undulation evolved in whales before development of a tail fluke, but that claim was made when only one lumbar and one caudal vertebra were known.’
- ‘The nicks and notches in the fluke and dorsal fin help with identification, and the photos go into a photo ID catalogue which helps determine population size and migration patterns.’
- ‘Water flowed down the erect tail, or flukes, to give the impression of a whale diving in the sea.’
- ‘This was shown as an animal with a long snaky body, with flippers and smallish flukes on the tail.’
- ‘He said the sculpture would depict a whale with its flukes, or tail, raised in the air but could not say what size the sculpture would be.’
Mid 16th century: perhaps from fluke (because of the shape).
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