1 of 2


flunked; flunking; flunks

intransitive verb

: to fail especially in an examination or course

transitive verb

: to give a failing grade to
: to get a failing grade or result in
flunker noun


2 of 2


: an act or instance of flunking

Example Sentences

Verb If I flunk this class, I have to take it over again. If I flunk, I have to take this class over again. The teacher had to flunk two students.
Recent Examples on the Web
But given that applications already vastly outnumber available jobs, why the imperative to consider candidates who flunk the exam? Dave Seminara, WSJ, 2 May 2022 He was accused of harassing M.O. over two years and threatening to flunk her for not taking part in the Pledge of Allegiance. Fox News, 30 Mar. 2022 The colt crossed the finish line first in the Derby on May 1, only to flunk a postrace test for a corticosteroid that is prohibited on raceday. New York Times, 4 Nov. 2021 Medina Spirit crossed the finish line first, only to flunk a postrace test for a prohibited corticosteroid. New York Times, 27 Aug. 2021 The Michigan legislature had chosen this year, of all years, to enforce a strict new literacy law: Any third grader who could not read proficiently by May could flunk and be held back. Annie Waldman, ProPublica, 3 July 2021 And journalists would raise their game, not flunk big stories like Brexit and Mr. Trump’s rise. Tunku Varadarajan, WSJ, 8 June 2021 Such interactions could lead to wrongful arrest, prosecution, and government liens for those who’ve done nothing more than flunk a flawed algorithmic test. Albert Fox Cahn, Wired, 9 June 2021 Companies that scored below a certain threshold would flunk the test, leading either to remedial action or, potentially, a ban. Annie Brown, Forbes, 7 Apr. 2021
Or, perhaps some schools will consider this to be an act of cheating that causes the student to get an automatic flunk. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 18 Dec. 2022 Facilities that ace their inspections are on track to get up to five stars, whereas those that flunk will struggle to get more than one or two stars. New York Times, 9 Dec. 2021 However, all three flunk the smell test, and two of them fell by the wayside before the Legislature adjourned last week. Dan Walters, The Mercury News, 19 Sep. 2019 Doesn’t Avis know some states (including Massachusetts) flunk vehicles with faulty wipers in safety inspections? Sean P. Murphy, BostonGlobe.com, 5 July 2019 And some students in general courses may test poorly or don't do their homework and flunk tests, educators say. Diane Rado, chicagotribune.com, 19 May 2017 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'flunk.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History



perhaps blend of flinch and funk

First Known Use


1823, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense


1846, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of flunk was in 1823

Dictionary Entries Near flunk

Cite this Entry

“Flunk.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flunk. Accessed 31 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition


: fail entry 1 sense 2c
flunk a test
: to give a failing grade to
flunk noun

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