I had been under the apparent misapprehension that the term man flu was used to distinguish it from bird flu or swine flu etc.

But according to Wikipedia this is how it is described.

Man flu is a pejoratively used phrase that refers to the idea that men, when they have a cold, exaggerate and claim they have the flu. Whilst a commonly used phrase in the UK and Ireland, it is referred to in other cultures[1] and there is a continuing discussion over the scientific basis for the phrase.

A couple of people have recently told me they had man flu. Any ideas as to what they might have meant?

  • @Josh61 Well yes, I suppose that is what I need to know. I think there may be people using the term without knowing what it means. Indeed what does it mean? – WS2 Mar 16 '15 at 19:48
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    The Wikipedia quote tells you what it means. This is the only way that I have ever heard man flu used, though I can understand that some people may misuse the words. – Ian MacDonald Mar 16 '15 at 19:52
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    Were the people who told you they had "man flu" male or female? If male, all I can think of is that they shared your (mistaken, albeit understandable) impression that the term is used to distinguish avian flu or swine flu from the human variety. If female, they might have been referring to actual definition: i.e. they weren't technically so sick that they couldn't have gotten up to, say, fix dinner, but they chose to pretend they were men and exaggerated their symptoms. – Marthaª Mar 16 '15 at 20:17
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    You already gave the answer. As for what a couple of people said, it might have been said humorously or it might have been confused with human flu. We don't know the context and the tone of their voice etc. – 0.. Mar 16 '15 at 20:41
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    @Mari-LouA Both persons who told me they had had it were male, and both stressed how ill they had felt. My suspicion is that it is being used in two different ways. – WS2 Mar 16 '15 at 21:29

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