• synonyms


adjective, funk·i·er, funk·i·est.
  1. Jazz. having an earthy, blues-based quality or character.
  2. having an offensive smell; evil-smelling; foul.
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Origin of funky

An Americanism dating back to 1905–10; funk2 + -y1
Related formsfunk·i·ly, adverbfunk·i·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for funkiness

Historical Examples of funkiness

  • This waste of time and effort was largely due to funkiness on my part, and there was no necessity for it.

    Down the Columbia

    Lewis R. Freeman

British Dictionary definitions for funkiness


adjective funkier or funkiest informal
  1. (of music) passionate, soulful; of or pertaining to funk
  2. authentic; earthy
  3. stylish and exciting; coolfunky jeans
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Word Origin for funky

C20: from funk ², perhaps alluding to music that was smelly, that is, earthy (like the early blues)


adjective funkier or funkiest
  1. slang, mainly US evil-smelling; foul
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Word Origin for funky

C18: from funk ²
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

Word Origin and History for funkiness



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."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper