In "The Man with Two Beards" by G. K. Chesterton, the author was describing a situation where Mr. Bankes family were assembling in their house while their son, John, returned in his car with his neighbour, Mr. Smith, who don't like cars at all:

At this point, the conference was for a moment disturbed, by the return of John Bankes, from what appeared to be an abortive expedition in the car. Old Smith seemed to have been a disappointing passenger, after all. "Funked it, after all, at the last minute," he announced with noisy disgust. "Bolted off while I was looking at what I thought was a puncture. Last time I’ll take one of these yokels——"

Does "funked it" mean "got rid of it"?

And what's meant by "Bolted off, does it mean "escaped" as "bolted out"?

1 Answer 1


Funk is rather old-fashioned British slang for a state of fear, so to funk it is to lose one's nerve at the last moment and refuse to do something. We might say chicken out today.

To bolt is to run away, like a frightened horse. It doesn't need off after it, but I suppose John is using it like ran off.


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