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[fluhngk] /flʌŋk/
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.
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 flinch1, funk1
Related forms
unflunked, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for flunk
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It was a part of her philosophy, however, never to flunk flat; she always crawled.

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

  • I passed everything with the utmost ease—I know the secret now, and am never going 134 to flunk again.

    Daddy Long-Legs Jean Webster
  • But you're dropped if you flunk eight hours; you told me so yourself.

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

    The Galaxy Primes Edward Elmer Smith
  • I dont want to flunk in my exams, and I guess you dont, either of you.

    The Motor Boys Afloat Clarence Young
  • You a man, and not stan by your colour, and flunk under to mean white ways!

    The Minister's Wooing Harriet Beecher Stowe
British Dictionary definitions for flunk


to fail or cause to fail to reach the required standard in (an examination, course, etc)
(intransitive) foll by out. to be dismissed from a school or college through failure in examinations
a low grade below the pass standard
Word Origin
C19: perhaps from flinch1 + funk1
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
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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
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Slang definitions & phrases for flunk



: I've got three passes and two flunks


  1. To fail; make a botch of: I tried selling, but flunked at that
  2. To fail an examination, a course, etc; bust: He flunked the final but passed the course
  3. To give a student a failing grade

[1823+ College; origin unknown; perhaps a blend of fail with funk, perhaps echoic of a dull collapse]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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