Etymology
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fluke (n.1)
"flat end of an arm of an anchor," 1560s, perhaps from fluke (n.3) "flatfish," on resemblance of shape, or from Low German flügel "wing." Transferred meaning "whale's tail" (in plural, flukes) is by 1725, so called from resemblance.
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fluke (n.2)
"lucky stroke, chance hit," 1857, also flook, said to be originally a lucky shot at billiards, of uncertain origin. Century Dictionary connects it with fluke (n.1) in reference to the whale's use of flukes to get along rapidly (to go a-fluking or some variant of it, "go very fast," is in Dana, Smyth, and other sailors' books of the era). OED (2nd ed. print) allows only that it is "Possibly of Eng. dialectal origin."
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fluke (n.3)

"flatfish," Old English floc "flatfish," related to Old Norse floke "flatfish," flak "disk, floe," from Proto-Germanic *flok-, from PIE root *plak- (1) "to be flat." The parasite worm (1660s) so called from resemblance of shape.

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fluky (adj.)
"depending on chance rather than skill," 1867, from fluke (n.2) + -y (2).
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*plak- (1)

also *plāk-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to be flat;" extension of root *pele- (2) "flat; to spread."

It forms all or part of: flag (n.2) "flat stone for paving;" flagstone; flake (n.) "thin flat piece,; flaw; floe; fluke (n.3) "flatfish;" placenta; plagal; plagiarism; plagio-; planchet; plank.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Greek plakoeis "flat," plax "level surface, anything flat;" Lettish plakt "to become flat;" Old Norse flaga "layer of earth," Norwegian flag "open sea," Old English floh "piece of stone, fragment," Old High German fluoh "cliff."

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foul (v.)
Old English fulian "to become foul, rot, decay," from ful (see foul (adj.)). Transitive meaning "make foul, pollute" is from c. 1200. Meaning "become entangled" (chiefly nautical) is from 1832, probably from foul (adj.) in the sense "obstructed by anything fixed or attached" (late 15c.). "A term generally used in contrast to clear, and implies entangled, embarrassed or contrary to: e.g. to foul the helm, to find steerage impracticable owing to the rudder becoming entangled with rope or other gear" [Sir Geoffrey Callender, "Sea Passages," 1943]. Related: Fouled; fouling. Hence also foul anchor (1769), one with the slack of the cable twisted round the stock or a fluke; noted by 1832 as naval insignia.
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