Definition of influenza in English:



mass noun
  • A highly contagious viral infection of the respiratory passages causing fever, severe aching, and catarrh, and often occurring in epidemics.

    • ‘Residents with influenza should be in a separate room or with other flu sufferers.’
    • ‘Elderly people are at particular risk of serious illness if they contract influenza.’
    • ‘So far no H5N1 influenza virus infection in birds or humans has been reported in India.’
    • ‘It is not less infectious than measles or influenza, and even if it were, it is much more fatal.’
    • ‘Most topical is the risk of pandemic influenza, which seems to be the highest in three decades.’
    • ‘Symptoms and signs of influenza in children are not specific and can mimic a range of other common respiratory viral pathogens.’
    • ‘On a search for me around France, he had caught a deadly fever as well as influenza.’
    • ‘It also caused post-flood diseases for children like influenza, diarrhea and fever.’
    • ‘Smoking cessation also reduces the risk of death after a stroke and of death from pneumonia and influenza.’
    • ‘Epidemics of influenza are associated with increases in mortality and morbidity.’
    • ‘Frequently referred to as the flu, influenza is a respiratory illness which is caused by a virus.’
    • ‘Others are accounted for by a variety of viruses such as influenza.’
    • ‘The best way to avoid influenza or reduce its symptoms is to get a flu shot every year.’
    • ‘An infected person can spread influenza from up to a day before becoming ill and up to eight days after.’
    • ‘Vaccinating children with asthma against influenza has never really caught on.’
    • ‘Many biological warfare agents cause illness that could be mistaken for common diseases such as influenza.’
    • ‘You should treat this season of influenza exactly the way you treat any other influenza.’
    • ‘Among the respiratory viruses, influenza viruses are known to cause outbreaks globally.’
    • ‘Other viral illnesses include influenza, the common cold, Lassa fever, and ebola.’
    • ‘We investigated uptake of pneumococcus and influenza vaccine in all children with diabetes in our area.’


Mid 18th century: from Italian, literally ‘influence’, from medieval Latin influentia (see influence). The Italian word also has the sense ‘an outbreak of an epidemic’, hence ‘epidemic’. It was applied specifically to an influenza epidemic which began in Italy in 1743, later adopted in English as the name of the disease.