Nearby words

  1. flummox,
  2. flump,
  3. flung,
  4. flunisolide,
  5. flunitrazepam,
  6. flunk out,
  7. flunkey,
  8. flunkout,
  9. flunky,
  10. fluoborate

Origin of flunk

1815–25, Americanism; perhaps akin to flinch1, funk1

Related formsun·flunked, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for flunk

British Dictionary definitions for flunk


/ (flʌŋk) informal, mainly US, Canadian and NZ /


to fail or cause to fail to reach the required standard in (an examination, course, etc)
(intr foll by out) to be dismissed from a school or college through failure in examinations


a low grade below the pass standard

Word Origin for flunk

C19: perhaps from flinch 1 + funk 1

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 flunk



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