When smoke flows out of a chimney, it moves through a narrow opening called a flue. Before you light a fire in the fireplace, make sure the flue is open!

Don't mistake flue for its homonym, flu — rather than an illness, a flue is a duct or pipe that's connected to a stove, heater, furnace, or fireplace. Smoke or gas can flow freely through the flue, which allows the appliance to work properly and vents any nasty exhaust away from people. Experts disagree about the origin of this word, but many trace it back to a Germanic root meaning "to flow."

Definitions of flue
  1. noun
    a conduit to carry off smoke
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    a vertical flue that provides a path through which smoke from a fire is carried away through the wall or roof of a building
    the part of the chimney that is above the roof; usually has several flues
    chimney, lamp chimney
    a glass flue surrounding the wick of an oil lamp
    smokestack, stack
    a large tall chimney through which combustion gases and smoke can be evacuated
    chimney consisting of a metal pipe of large diameter that is used to connect a stove to a flue
    type of:
    a passage (a pipe or tunnel) through which water or electric wires can pass
  2. noun
    flat bladelike projection on the arm of an anchor
    synonyms: fluke
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    type of:
    any structure that branches out from a central support
  3. noun
    organ pipe whose tone is produced by air passing across the sharp edge of a fissure or lip
    synonyms: flue pipe, labial pipe
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    type of:
    organ pipe, pipe, pipework
    the flues and stops on a pipe organ
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