Posted by: Jack Henry | February 12, 2018

Editor’s Corner: Grippe, flu, and photos for you!

On Friday, an email intended for the administrator of the Editor’s Corner mailing list was erroneously sent to the entire mailing list. I apologize for any confusion this caused and for any unwanted emails you received. Thank you for your patience.


Good morning!

This is sort of a backwards way of doing things, but why not? Today’s Editor’s Corner started with some photos that one of you sent me. I’ve been patiently waiting for an opportunity to use them, but nothing has arisen. I thought maybe I could give them to the folks who keep warning us about the flu, since they’re health-related. But no! These are mine!

I decided to invent an opportunity. Heath-related? Flu season? That got me thinking. I remember in French class learning the word “grippe” meant “the flu.” It sounded so much more serious back then, probably because they always accompanied mentions of la grippe with pictures of the plague and Paris sewers. I seem to recall reading about someone screaming, “La grippe! La grippe!” and then dying. Of course, that was probably me just being dramatic and then falling asleep in second period French class.

Anyway, here’s what I found. Somewhere in the United States, somebody has been using the term grippe to mean flu since 1776! From Merriam-Webster:

noun: grippe
old-fashioned term for influenza.

French, literally, seizure, probably from gripper to seize.

And our “flu”:

noun: influenza

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

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 that began in Italy in 1743, later adopted in English as the name of the disease.

So there you have it! And now, the photos. Stay safe, America!

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

Symitar Documentation Services

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