flunk [ fluhngk ] SHOW IPA / flʌŋk / PHONETIC RESPELLING WORD ORIGIN 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. noun 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
funk 1 Related forms un·flunked, adjective
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
British Dictionary definitions for flunk out flunk / ( flʌŋk) informal, mainly US, Canadian and NZ / verb 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 noun 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
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Word Origin and History for flunk out v.
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
Idioms and Phrases with flunk out 1
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. [ Slang; early 1800s] 2
Fail at anything, as in
The camera ran out of film so we flunked out as photographers. [ Slang; late 1800s]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
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