[ 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 conk

First recorded in 1915–20; perhaps of imitative orig. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for conk out (1 of 2)

conk out

verb (intr, adverb) informal

(of machines, cars, etc) to fail suddenly
to tire suddenly or collapse, as from exhaustion

Word Origin for conk out

C20: of uncertain origin

British Dictionary definitions for conk out (2 of 2)


/ (kɒŋk) slang /


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 for conk

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

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

Idioms and Phrases with conk out

conk out


Stop functioning, fail, as in The engine finally conked out. [Colloquial; 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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.