See more synonyms for flunk on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object)
  1. to fail to get a passing mark in: to flunk math.
  2. to give a failing grade to; remove (a student) as unqualified from a school or course.
  1. a failure, as in a course or examination.
Verb Phrases
  1. 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 formsun·flunked, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for flunk


Examples from the Web for flunk

Contemporary Examples of flunk

Historical Examples of flunk

  • You could flunk every advanced student you had with that one.

    The Galaxy Primes

    Edward Elmer Smith

  • "Jimmie wants awfully to flunk—and dassent," was her mental comment.

  • Miss Lord will flunk Rosalie if the rest of us don't take care of her.

    Just Patty

    Jean Webster

  • "But you can live, even if you should flunk math," Patty continued reassuringly.

  • We can flunk Latin and math; but if we flunk any more we're gone.

British Dictionary definitions for flunk


  1. to fail or cause to fail to reach the required standard in (an examination, course, etc)
  2. (intr foll by out) to be dismissed from a school or college through failure in examinations
  1. 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