from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • intransitive v. To fail, especially in a course or an examination.
  • transitive v. To fail (an examination or course).
  • transitive v. To give a failing grade to.
  • n. The act or an instance of flunking.
  • n. A failing grade.
  • flunk out To expel or be expelled from a school or course because of work that does not meet required standards.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. Of a student, to fail a class; to not pass.
  • v. Of a teacher, to deny a student a passing grade.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A failure or backing out.
  • intransitive v. To fail, as on a lesson; to back out, as from an undertaking, through fear.
  • transitive v. To fail in; to fail to pass (a test, examination, or course of study).
  • transitive v. To shirk, as a task or duty.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To fail or give up; break down or back down, as from incompetence or fear: often with out: as, to flunk in a school recitation or examination; to flunk out from a contest.
  • To cause to fail, as in a recitation or an examination.
  • n. A failure or back-down; in colleges, a complete failure in a recitation or an examination.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. fail to get a passing grade
  • n. failure to reach a minimum required performance


Origin unknown.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Alteration of funk, or perhaps a blend of flinch and funk. (Wiktionary)


  • And so we, lowly flunk from the salt mines, introduced our boss's boss (and others) to Mr Sinha.

    Archive 2007-10-01

  • a "greasy grind" -- and yet fail of prominence; and one could fail to pass -- "flunk" -- and yet climb to the pinnacle of prominence.


  • Or if you like the cool, dispassionate analysis, I'd recommend the Union of Concerned Scientists or the well-respected journalist Eric Pooley's take on how the authors -- who he says are friends of his -- "flunk" the science.

    Andrew Winston: Missing the SuperFreaking Point (and Ignoring the Business Case for Green)

  • I don't think it's possible "flunk" the tmatt trio, as you say.


  • Supposedly, there is no way to "flunk" a stress test. News

  • Well, I suppose totally incoherent and / or self-contradictory answers might cause the person to "flunk" in a certain way, but I don't think the tmatt trio is some tool to enforce orthodoxy.


  • I'd been dropping "flunk" in tests to note that they weren't implemented yet, but that can get confusing pretty quickly.

    almost effortless

  • Eric Pooley's take on how the authors -- who he says are friends of his -- "flunk" the science.

    The Full Feed from

  • Maybe volunteers might even "flunk" the fostering program -- as Laibe once did -- and decide to adopt, she said.

    Daytona Beach News-Journal Online

  • As to Mr. Kerr's letter, I would have thought that what happened at Harvard ” about which he is silent ” is more important than to characterize me: I have a "personal, partial, and interested point of view"; I believe in a "behind-the-scenes conspiracy" between the Carnegie Commission and the authors of the book; I "flunk" the test of fairness and objectivity.

    'Veritas' at Harvard: Another Exchange


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