An influenza is a contagious viral infection. Influenzas tend to spread during the winter, and they're more commonly known as the flu.

If you've ever wondered why this word looks so much like influence, that’s because both come from the Italian influentia. The original idea was a flowing in — of ethereal fluid from the heavens, thus affecting human destiny. We know now influenza is caused by viruses, not heavenly fluid. When you have an influenza, you're likely to vomit, have diarrhea, be exhausted, and feel terrible overall. One way to prevent influenza is by getting a flu shot.

Definitions of influenza

n an acute febrile highly contagious viral disease

flu, grippe
Asian influenza, Asiatic flu
influenza caused by the Asian virus that was first isolated in 1957
swine flu, swine influenza
an acute and highly contagious respiratory disease of swine caused by the orthomyxovirus thought to be the same virus that caused the 1918 influenza pandemic
Type of:
contagion, contagious disease
any disease easily transmitted by contact
respiratory disease, respiratory disorder, respiratory illness
a disease affecting the respiratory system

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.