Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[kongk, kawngk] /kɒŋk, kɔŋk/
verb (used without object), Slang.
to break or fail, as a machine or engine (often followed by out):
The engine conked out halfway there.
to slow down or stop; lose energy (often followed by out).
to go to sleep (usually followed by off or out).
to lose consciousness; faint (usually followed by out).
to die (usually followed by out).
Origin of conk2
First recorded in 1915-20; perhaps of imitative orig. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for conk out
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "You better be thinking of getting us in, one of my engines is about to conk out on me," he called across.

    A Yankee Flier in Italy Rutherford G. Montgomery
British Dictionary definitions for conk out

conk out

verb (intransitive, adverb) (informal)
(of machines, cars, etc) to fail suddenly
to tire suddenly or collapse, as from exhaustion
Word Origin
C20: of uncertain origin


to strike (someone) a blow, esp on the head or nose
a punch or blow, esp on the head or nose
the head or (esp Brit and NZ) the nose
Word Origin
C19: probably changed from conch
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for conk out



as in conk out, 1918, coined by World War I airmen, perhaps in imitation of the sound of a stalling motor, reinforced by conk (v.) "hit on the head," originally "punch in the nose" (1821), from conk (n.), slang for "nose" (1812), perhaps from fancied resemblance to a conch (pronounced "conk") shell.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for conk out

conk out

verb phrase

  1. To stop running or operating: if this plane conked out (WWI Royal Flying Corps)
  2. To lose energy and spirits suddenly; become abruptly exhausted (1920s+)
  3. To go to sleep; conk off (1940s+)
  4. To die: So she's conked out, eh?/ John Le Mesurier wishes it to be known that he conked out on Nov 15. He sadly misses family and friends (1920s+)

[probably echoic]

conk 1


The head •Conk designated the nose earlier, by 1812 (1860s+)


  1. To hit on the nose or head: I got conked by the bat (1925+)
  2. To defeat utterly; clobber (1950s+)

Related Terms

bust one's ass

[probably fr conch]

conk 2


: I couldn't get over marveling at how their hair was straight and shiny like white men's hair; Ella told me this was called ''conk''


To apply a mixture sometimes containing lye to the head in order to straighten kinky hair

[1940s+ Black; probably fr Congolene, trademark of a preparation used to straighten hair, influenced by conk1]

conk 3


To die; cease to operate; conk out: A year after that, a spinster aunt conked (WWI Royal Flying Corps)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with conk out

conk out

Stop functioning, fail, as in The engine finally conked out. [ ; early 1900s ]
Fall asleep, as in Every evening he conked out in front of the television set. [ 1940s ]
Faint or collapse, as in I don't know if it was the heat, but she suddenly conked out. [ 1920s ]
Die, as in He's paranoid about conking out and he's only twenty! [ Late 1920s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for conk out

Difficulty index for conk

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for conk

Scrabble Words With Friends