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[fuhng-kee] /ˈfʌŋ ki/
adjective, funkier, funkiest.
overcome with great fear; terrified.
Origin of funky1
First recorded in 1830-40; funk1 + -y1


[fuhng-kee] /ˈfʌŋ ki/
adjective, funkier, funkiest.
Jazz. having an earthy, blues-based quality or character.
having an offensive smell; evil-smelling; foul.
An Americanism dating back to 1905-10; funk2 + -y1
Related forms
funkily, adverb
funkiness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for funky
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Each knew the other wasn't going to be the first to admit that he was funky.

  • I think Captain Smalley is funky himself about fighting, that's what I think!

    His Big Opportunity Amy Le Feuvre
  • He had come up by express purely to relieve my anxiety, knowing how ‘funky’ young gentlemen sometimes were over such trifles.

    The Seven Curses of London James Greenwood
  • This “funky” seat on horseback looks bad, is particularly unsafe, and is hard to correct when once acquired.

    The Horsewoman Alice M. Hayes
  • I see many a country fellow in my time as funky as can be, and sweating, cause why?

British Dictionary definitions for funky


adjective (informal) funkier, funkiest
(of music) passionate, soulful; of or pertaining to funk
authentic; earthy
stylish and exciting; cool: funky jeans
Word Origin
C20: from funk², perhaps alluding to music that was smelly, that is, earthy (like the early blues)


adjective funkier, funkiest
(slang, mainly US) evil-smelling; foul
Word Origin
C18: from funk²
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for funky

1784, "old, musty," in reference to cheeses, then "repulsive," from funk (n.2) + -y (2). It began to develop an approving sense in jazz slang c.1900, probably on the notion of "earthy, strong, deeply felt." Funky also was used early 20c. by white writers in reference to body odor allegedly peculiar to blacks. The word reached wider popularity c.1954 (e.g. definition in "Time" magazine, Nov. 8, 1954) and in the 1960s acquired a broad slang sense of "fine, stylish, excellent."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for funky



  1. Repulsive; malodorous; stinking: What a stinking, dirty, funky bitch she was/ The Baths, though, are funky enough without booze (1784+)
  2. In the style of the blues; earthy; simple yet compelling, with a strong beat and powerful bass guitar: He has combined a basically funky sound with experimentation/ the funky-butt tune high wide an' lonesome (1954+ Black musicians)
  3. Excellent; effective; cool: He wanted to get down and get funky/ There's a funkyass biker after my own heart (late 1960s+)
  4. Old-fashioned; quaintly out-of-date; having a nostalgic appeal: for those of you who are not familiar with its funky splendor/ my love for funky Forties clothes (1960s+)
  5. Pleasantly eccentric or unconventional; offbeat (1960s+)
  6. Deviant; kinky: That guy's a little too funky for my taste
  7. Highly emotional; lacking affective restraint: He hints that it may have its funky moments (1960s+)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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