Green’s Dictionary of Slang

conk (out) v.

also konk (out)
[conk v.2 ]

1. usu. of machinery, to collapse, to break down, to malfunction; thus conked (out) adj.

[UK]Hull Dly Mail 17 July 5/3: A motor-cyclist arrived [...] and said, ‘The cavalry have conked out on the hill, sir’.
[UK]Liverpool Echo 29 May 6/5: The weestmoreland Mortor-cycle Club held a series of trials [...] with very stiff gradients [...] B. Jeffreys, on an Indian, ‘conked out’ at the bend, his engine failing.
[UK] ‘Every Little While’ in C.H. Ward-Jackson Airman’s Song Book (1945) 55: Every little while my engine’s conking, / Every little while I catch on fire.
[US]J.M. Grider War Birds (1926) 88: The motor conked all right, but he made a nice landing in the field.
[UK]Exeter & Plymouth Gaz. 25 July 6/5: Miss Phillips [...] the only lady rider taking part [...] conked out while negotiating the climb.
[UK]N. Lucas Autobiog. of a Thief 161: Near Croydon she [i.e. a car] ‘conked out.’.
[US](con. 1917) ‘W.W. Windstaff’ ‘A Flier’s War’ in Longstreet Canvas Falcons (1970) 273: The engine conked.
[UK]Wodehouse Right Ho, Jeeves 6: The mystery had conked. I saw all.
[UK]Jennings & Madge May the Twelfth: Mass-Observation Day-Surveys 2:96: Piccadilly. Crowd dense in many parts. ‘Can’t get out of ’ere.’ ‘You will.’ ‘Someone’s conked out.’.
[US]Berrey & Van den Bark Amer. Thes. Sl.
[UK]G. Gibson Enemy Coast Ahead (1955) 125: The darned thing conked out with about six miles to go on the way home.
[UK]A. Buckeridge Jennings Goes To School 111: The speedometer needle dropped back to eight miles per hour. ‘She won’t take it,’ said Lofty. ‘She’s conking.’.
[UK]W. Hall Long and the Short and the Tall Act I: I think the battery’s giving up. Conking out.
[US]Mad mag. Oct. 10: Old Cooney conked at first and Burrows also sacked.
[US]T. Wolfe Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (1969) 40: Kesey [...] jams it [i.e. a potato] over the guy’s exhaust pipe, which causes the motor to conk out.
[UK]P. Driscoll Wilby Conspiracy (1991) 63: ‘Car lighter conked out,’ he said.
[UK]C. Dexter Last Bus to Woodstock 165: Has the car konked out again?
[UK]‘Q’ Deadmeat 264: The Karmann Ghia conked-out, right in the middle of the road.
[UK]N. ‘Razor’ Smith Raiders 10: He would [...] have the bonnet up as though it [i.e. a van] had just conked out.
[US]D.D. Brazill ‘Lady and the Gimp’ in Pulp Ink [ebook] I’ll stay here a bit longer. See if the jukebox conks out, like.

2. to lose consciousness.

[UK]Kipling ‘The Janeites’ Debits and Credits (1926) 167: The man was vi’lently sick an’ conked out.
[US]N. Kimball Amer. Madam (1981) 320: I had conked out.
[Aus]K.S. Prichard Roaring Nineties 186: Teddy was tied-up so tightly he would’ve konked out, if a chap [...] hadn’t made ’em loosen the ropes.
[US]N. Algren Little Lester’ in Entrapment (2009) 99: Wait till he feels [...] his leg gettin’ bound to the voltage clamp. He’ll konk out.
[US](con. 1943–5) A. Murphy To Hell and Back (1950) 198: I’m sorry I conked out .
[US]Southern & Hoffenberg Candy (1970) 153: You may recall I conked on it, only to come up an hour later with an ass full of needles.
[US]Mad mag. Jan. 47: And my chick on her ‘Castro,’ and me on the floor, / Had just conked out for a forty-wink snore.
[Aus]J. Alard He who Shoots Last 145: Ya looks like ya gonna conk out. Ya better see da quack.
[UK]A. Bleasdale Scully 35: ‘I’m not dead, Mrs Scully,’ he said, ‘I’ve only fainted,’ and then he conked out again.
[UK]Flame: a Life on the Game 145: I heard a siren in the distance and I conked out again. I woke up a week later in hospital.
[Ire]P. Howard PS, I Scored the Bridesmaids 195: I’m a bit more hammered than I thought and I end up conking out.

3. to give up.

[UK]C. Day Lewis Otterbury Incident 63: The cheap-jack fellow’s voice conked out altogether, so startled was he by this intrusion.
[Aus]‘Nino Culotta’ They’re a Weird Mob (1958) 39: I reckon you’ll conk out about lunchtime.
[US] in T.I. Rubin Sweet Daddy 113: I took one look and conked out.
[Can]R. Caron Go-Boy! 210: Don’t conk out on me now, hotshot!
[UK]Guardian G2 21 July 9: The pianist, who has not been supplied with a page-turner, conks out in utter frustration.

4. to die; thus conked, dead.

[UK]Aberdeen Jrnl 9 Nov. 5/6: A man [...] caught him round the neck and hit him on the head with something hard [...] on the way to the police station the accused asked if it was likely that Leslie would ‘conk out’.
[UK]A. Christie Sad Cypress (1954) 44: So she’s conked out – eh?
[US]T. Capote In Cold Blood 154: Because I caught pneumonia I almost conked.
[US]F. Elli Riot (1967) 20: If Malaski konks out we’re facin’ a murder rap.
[UK]S. Berkoff East in Decadence and Other Plays (1985) 50: Would I not conk out in the street at Aldgate East (untimely end).
[US]R. Campbell Alice in La-La Land (1999) 194: I hope I ain’t going to conk out from a heart attack.
[UK]H.R.F. Keating Soft Detective 3: Just some poor geezer conking out.

5. to fall asleep.

[UK]A. Sillitoe Sat. Night and Sun. Morning 90: How many times have you seen me conk out from too much booze?
[US]Mad mag. June 49: Like soon I got stinking that I conked out on the floor.
[US]A.E. Morgan Six-Eleven (1966) 187: Do you mind if I conk out on your shoulder? I’m really bushed.
[US]E. Torres After Hours 131: It was dawn and I wanted to conk out.
[UK]J. Sullivan ‘Strained Relations’ Only Fools and Horses [TV script] I conked out on one of them beds.
[UK]J. Healy Streets Above Us (1991) 130: Annabelle, head drooped forward on to her chest, has conked out at last.
[UK]Indep. Mag. 11 Mar. 36: They both conk out for at least 10 hours at night.

6. to knock someone out.

[US]W. Guthrie Bound for Glory (1969) 364: You don’t hafta swing that pump aroun’s so much [...] You don’t want to konk none of yer own soldiers out, do you?
[US](con. 1948) G. Mandel Flee the Angry Strangers 262: You want to conk me out and diddle with me while I’m helpless, you big degenerate?
[US]Mad mag. May–June 20: If they spot you, Buster, they’ll conk you out.