|Cultural origins||Mid-1960s, United States|
Funk is a
Funk originated in the mid-1960s, with
Funk derivatives include the
|Look up funk in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
The word funk initially referred (and still refers) to a strong odor. It is originally derived from Latin "fumigare" (which means "to smoke") via Old French "fungiere" and, in this sense, it was first documented in English in 1620. In 1784 "funky" meaning "musty" was first documented, which, in turn, led to a sense of "earthy" that was taken up around 1900 in early jazz slang for something "deeply or strongly felt". Ethnomusicologist Portia Maultsby states that the expression "funk" comes from the Central African word "lu-funki" and art historian Robert Farris Thompson says the word comes from the Kikongo term "lu-fuki"; in both proposed origins, the term refers to body odor. Thompson's proposed Kikingo origin word, "lu-fuki" is used by African musicians to praise people "for the integrity of their art" and for having "worked out" to reach their goals. Even though in white culture, the term "funk" has negative connotations of odor or being in a bad mood ("in a funk"), in African communities, the term "funk", while still linked to body odor, had the positive sense that a musician's hard-working, honest effort led to sweat, and from their "physical exertion" came an "exquisite" and "superlative" performance.