conk out


2 [kongk, kawngk]
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 ).

1915–20; perhaps of imitative orig. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
conk (kɒŋk)
1.  to strike (someone) a blow, esp on the head or nose
2.  a punch or blow, esp on the head or nose
3.  the head or (esp Brit and NZ) the nose
[C19: probably changed from conch]

conk out
1.  (of machines, cars, etc) to fail suddenly
2.  to tire suddenly or collapse, as from exhaustion
[C20: of uncertain origin]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

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
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

conk out

  1. Stop functioning, fail, as in The engine finally conked out. [Colloquial; early 1900s]

  2. Fall asleep, as in Every evening he conked out in front of the television set. [1940s]

  3. Faint or collapse, as in I don't know if it was the heat, but she suddenly conked out. [1920s]

  4. Die, as in He's paranoid about conking out and he's only twenty! [Late 1920s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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