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.

adjective funkier or funkiest informal

  1. (of music) passionate, soulful; of or pertaining to funk
  2. authentic; earthy
  3. stylish and exciting; coolfunky jeans

adjective funkier or funkiest

  1. slang, mainly US evil-smelling; foul

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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