Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[fluhngk] /flʌŋk/
verb (used without object)
to fail in a course or examination.
verb (used with object)
to fail to get a passing mark in:
to flunk math.
to give a failing grade to; remove (a student) as unqualified from a school or course.
a failure, as in a course or examination.
Verb phrases
flunk out, to fail and be unable to continue in:
He flunked out of flight school.
Origin of flunk
1815-25, Americanism; perhaps akin to flinch1, funk1
Related forms
unflunked, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for flunk out
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
British Dictionary definitions for flunk out


to fail or cause to fail to reach the required standard in (an examination, course, etc)
(intransitive) foll by out. to be dismissed from a school or college through failure in examinations
a low grade below the pass standard
Word Origin
C19: perhaps from flinch1 + funk1
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 flunk out



1823, American English college slang, original meaning "to back out, give up, fail," traditionally said to be an alteration of British university slang funk "to be frightened, shrink from" (see funk (n.1)). Related: Flunked; flunking.

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

flunk out

verb phrase

  1. To fail; make a botch
  2. To be dismissed from school for failing work: The great man had flunked out of Wittenberg (1838+)



: I've got three passes and two flunks


  1. To fail; make a botch of: I tried selling, but flunked at that
  2. To fail an examination, a course, etc; bust: He flunked the final but passed the course
  3. To give a student a failing grade

[1823+ College; origin unknown; perhaps a blend of fail with funk, perhaps echoic of a dull collapse]

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 flunk out

flunk out

Expel or be expelled from a school because one's work does not meet the required standard. For example, He flunked out of Harvard after just one year. [ ; early 1800s ]
Fail at anything, as in The camera ran out of film so we flunked out as photographers. [ ; late 1800s ]
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 flunk out

Difficulty index for flunk

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for flunk

Scrabble Words With Friends