Definitions

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

  • n. A state of cowardly fright; a panic.
  • n. A state of severe depression.
  • n. A cowardly, fearful person.
  • transitive v. To shrink from in fright or dread.
  • transitive v. To be afraid of.
  • intransitive v. To shrink in fright.
  • n. Music An earthy quality appreciated in music such as jazz or soul.
  • n. Music A type of popular music combining elements of jazz, blues, and soul and characterized by syncopated rhythm and a heavy, repetitive bass line.
  • n. Slang An unsophisticated quality or atmosphere of a region or locality: "The setting is country funk” ( Nina Martin).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. spark
  • n. touchwood, punk, tinder
  • n. mental depression
  • n. A state of fear or panic, especially cowardly
  • v. To shrink from, or avoid something because of fear
  • n. Foul or unpleasant smell, especially body odour.
  • n. Music that combines traditional forms of black music (as blues, gospel, or soul) and is characterized by a strong backbeat.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An offensive smell; a stench.
  • n. One who funks; a shirk; a coward.
  • n. a state of fear.
  • n. a mildly depressed state of mind; -- often used in the phrase blue funk.
  • n. an earthy, seemingly unsophisticated style of jazz music having elements of black American blues and gospel.
  • n. A shrinking back through fear.
  • intransitive v. To emit an offensive smell; to stink.
  • intransitive v. To be frightened, and shrink back; to flinch.
  • transitive v. To envelop with an offensive smell or smoke.
  • transitive v. To funk at; to flinch at; to shrink from (a thing or person).
  • transitive v. To frighten; to cause to flinch.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To stifle with offensive smoke or vapor.
  • To become afraid; shrink through fear; quail.
  • To kick behind, as a horse.
  • To get angry; take offense.
  • To kick; strike.
  • Cross; ill-tempered.
  • To smoke offensively, as a fire or chimney, with puffs or gusts.
  • To shrink from or dread; be afraid of; back out from.
  • n. A spark.
  • n. Touchwood; punk.
  • n. A strong and offensive smoky smell.
  • n. Cowering fear; a shrinking panic or scare; a state of cowardly fright or terror.
  • n. A kick; a stroke.
  • n. Ill humor; anger; huff.
  • n. One who funks, shrinks from, or avoids, or who is in a state of funk.

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

  • n. a state of nervous depression
  • n. an earthy type of jazz combining it with blues and soul; has a heavy bass line that accentuates the first beat in the bar
  • n. United States biochemist (born in Poland) who showed that several diseases were caused by dietary deficiencies and who coined the term `vitamin' for the chemicals involved (1884-1967)
  • v. draw back, as with fear or pain

Etymologies

Probably from obsolete Flemish fonck, disturbance, agitation.
Back-formation from funky2.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English funke, fonke ("spark"), from Old English *funca, *fanca (“spark”), from Proto-Germanic *funkô, *fankô (“spark”), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)peng-, *(s)pheng- (“to shine”). Cognate with Middle Low German funke, fanke ("spark"), Middle Dutch vonke ("spark"), Old High German funcho, funko ("spark"), German Funke ("spark"). More at spunk. (Wiktionary)
1743, Scottish and Northern English dialectal word, originally a verb meaning "to panic, fail due to panic". Perhaps from or cognate with obsolete Dutch fonck ("distress, agitation"), from Middle Dutch fonck ("perturbation, agitation"). More at flunk. (Wiktionary)
1620, from French dialectal (Norman) funquer, funquier ("to smoke, reek"), from Old Northern French fungier ("to smoke"), from Vulgar Latin fūmicāre, alteration of Latin fūmigāre ("to smoke, fumigate"). Related to French dialect funkière ("smoke"). More at fumigate. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • If you're keeping it traditional and not using Halloween as a three day extended party, you can get down on the actual holiday with the Latin funk of Pimps of Joytime and Nayas at Rock and Roll Hotel.

    Nightlife agenda

  • Q: Well, I definitely like raw funk from the '60s and the' 70s because music back then wasn't digital.

    Mike Ragogna: From DJ Heroes to Old Time Gospel: Conversations with Aaron Neville and DJ Qbert

  • Apparently this blog funk is going around because for the first time ever I considered giving my blog a break.

    Getting The Funk Out | Her Bad Mother

  • But isn't that a device like any other that we use, something to set the mood, to warn the reader that Harry's getting in a funk, is probably going to get drunk, bed his latest love, and get called out on a case at 2 in the morning?

    October 2007

  • At the end of the day, the only way out of this funk is to force myself into the habit of concentrating on the jobs at hand.

    Whine and Cheeze

  • The 70's style, easy-going samba funk is wonderfully uplifting, but is made much more contemporary by the skratches, gritty electric keys and basslines, and a sound that clearly understands the important developments between that era and this one.

    Music (For Robots): October 2005 Archives

  • Williams put Diamondbacks hitters in a funk from the start.

    USATODAY.com - Cardinals gain split in the desert

  • I think I recently emerged from a long term funk (perhaps dysthymia, or long term mild depression, but I'm not going fix on a diagnosis).

    Ask MetaFilter

  • Spam music, grounded in Latin funk, mixes horns, improvisational electronic elements and turntables with hip-hop and dub, adding touches of Pythonesque humor.

    NCBlogs

  • He was equally interested in Latin funk, but lacking an experienced conga player, the band began focusing on afrobeat-Kuti's fusion of

    Portland Mercury

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • 'Now, says he, I know you are a moral citizen, George. Morality is mostly funk, and I think you're the funkiest man I ever came across in my travels.'

    - Conrad, The Partner

    March 5, 2009

  • From wikipedia, "Funk Carioca ("Funk from Rio" in Brazilian Portuguese), also known as Brazilian Funk (which also relates to a 1970's musical style), Favela Funk and, elsewhere in the world, Baile Funk, is a type of dance music from Rio de Janeiro, derived from and superficially similar to Miami Bass, with deep rapid beats and aggressive vocals. In Rio it is most often simply known as Funk, although it is very different musically from what Funk means in most other places — including Brazil itself."

    March 23, 2008

  • November 10, 2007

  • "Milly, no sign of funk. Her blue scarf loose, laughing. Don't know what death is at that age."
    Joyce, Ulysses, 13

    January 14, 2007