Flunk out


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.

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

unflunked, adjective
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
flunk (flʌŋk)
vb (foll by out)
1.  to fail or cause to fail to reach the required standard in (an examination, course, etc)
2.  to be dismissed from a school or college through failure in examinations
3.  a low grade below the pass standard
[C19: perhaps from flinch1 + funk1]

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

1823, Amer.Eng. 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 (1)). Related: Flunked; flunking.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

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