funk

1 of 4

noun (1)

: a strong offensive smell

funk

2 of 4

verb

funked; funking; funks

intransitive verb

: to become frightened and shrink back

transitive verb

1
: to be afraid of : dread
2
: to shrink from undertaking or facing

funk

3 of 4

noun (2)

1
a
: a state of paralyzing fear
b
: a depressed state of mind
2
: one that funks : coward
3
: slump sense 1
an economic funk
the team went into a funk

funk

4 of 4

noun (3)

1
: music that combines elements of rhythm and blues and soul music and that is characterized by a percussive vocal style, static harmonies, and a strong bass line with heavy downbeats
2
: the quality or state of being funky
jeans … have lost much of their funk Tom Wolfe

Word History

Etymology

Noun (1)

probably ultimately from French dialect (Picard) funquer to give off smoke

Noun (2)

perhaps from obsolete Dutch dialect (Flanders) fonck

Noun (3)

back-formation from funky entry 1

First Known Use

Noun (1)

1606, in the meaning defined above

Verb

circa 1746, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Noun (2)

1743, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun (3)

1970, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of funk was in 1606

Dictionary Entries Near funk

Cite this Entry

“Funk.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/funk. Accessed 4 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

funk 1 of 4

noun

: a strong bad smell

funk

2 of 4

verb

1
: to be or become frightened of
2
: to shrink back from in fear

funk

3 of 4

noun

1
a
: great fear
b
: a depressed state of mind
2
: coward
3
: slump entry 2
the team went into a funk

funk

4 of 4

noun

: music that combines forms of blues, gospel, or soul music and has a strong backbeat

Biographical Definition

Funk 1 of 2

biographical name (1)

Casimir 1884–1967 American (Polish-born) biochemist

Funk

2 of 2

biographical name (2)

Isaac Kauffman 1839–1912 American editor and publisher

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