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 funkTom Wolfe

Examples of funk in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
But every now and then, Holmes likes to funk with the jeans-and-a-90s-shirt formula. Daniel Rodgers, Vogue, 9 Aug. 2023 Our playlist also includes some fun, summertime anthems that just scream outdoor party time, so there’s a little something for everyone – songs dating back to the 19th century and more modern tunes ranging from country to funk and pop. Saleen Martin, USA TODAY, 30 June 2023 As a musician, Dirty Bird’s Afrofuturistic approach to dance music honors the vintage rhythms of jazz and funk through the lenses of house, jungle, and garage. Arielle Lana Lejarde, Rolling Stone, 13 July 2022 Though his work still touches on the lo-fi and has a handmade feel, he’s been a restless musical force over the past dozen years, jumping from psychedelic rock to funk to clubby dance music. Mark Richardson, WSJ, 25 Apr. 2022 Though hip-hop was clearly the starting point, their songs branched out to funk, pop, R&B, and more. Noah Shachtman, Rolling Stone, 18 Mar. 2023 Burgos’ style of dancing is quick, energetic, and liquid, inspired by everything from hip-hop to funk to salsa. Julyssa Lopez, Rolling Stone, 20 Jan. 2022 The results range from EDM to ’70s funk to mournful piano solos. Nichole Perkins, Vulture, 17 Aug. 2021 The backdrop of this passion play would be a love letter to funk greats like George Clinton, Isaac Hayes, and Curtis Mayfield. Marisa Whitaker, SPIN, 3 Mar. 2022
Noun
Life is all about perspective, and nothing snaps you out of a funk quite like escaping to a future world where things are much, much worse. Randall Colburn, EW.com, 25 Jan. 2024 Pair with jeans for a standard styling move or a dress for an extra dose of funk. Calin Van Paris, Peoplemag, 10 Feb. 2024 Still, the Gap Band’s funk and R&B sound helped give rise to an entirely new genre of music: hip-hop. Elahe Izadi, Washington Post, 8 Feb. 2024 Marlena Shaw, who cultivated a sultry stage presence and husky voice from the final echoes of the big-band era, to the go-go Playboy Clubs of the 1960s, to the rise of funk, to disco and finally to the modern cabaret circuit, died on Jan. 19. Alex Traub, New York Times, 28 Jan. 2024 The iconic singer known as the queen of funk is headed to the Luckman at Cal State L.A. this weekend to commemorate her 50th anniversary in music. Steven Vargas, Los Angeles Times, 24 Jan. 2024 Nichols’ nasal voice weaves into arrangements of country funk that often land where sorrow and bliss converge. Scott Canon, Kansas City Star, 24 Jan. 2024 Sabonis stood by his point guard when asked about Fox’s funk. Jason Anderson, Sacramento Bee, 23 Jan. 2024 The music, too, is idiosyncratic: For 60 minutes, plainsong, gospel, electronica, soul and the New Orleans funk of Christian’s upbringing layer into each other like atmospheric thermals. Jesse Green, New York Times, 19 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'funk.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 29 Feb. 2024.

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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