Funk does not mean depression. It refers specifically to a fearful state. General ignorance, perpetuated in the definition Wikipedia provides, has rendered the word useless, as it seems for many to designate a complex of negative feelings. (Comment above submitted by 188.8.131.52 on 14 May 2005, moved to talk page by Connel MacKenzie 03:52, 15 May 2005 (UTC))
I suppose that 'Funk' is becoming one of those words that can mean whatever you like. It is now being used as a meaningless general-purpose word to get round the censor in the lyrics of pop music, because it almost rhymes with 'F**k'. A recent (Summer 2005) record in the UK charts is called 'Don't Funk With My Heart', but this has now become so 'old hat' that it no longer shocks any more and sounds juvenile. Maybe a genuine word such as 'mess' or indeed 'f**k' would have more powerful meaning. But the word 'Funk' goes back further than that. The first occurrence that I can unearth is in the the UK during WW2, when to 'Funk' was to "wash your hands of" the war, or make a sharp exit when faced with a risky situation not of your choosing. A 'Funk Hole' was a small private hotel or guest-house in a remote part of the country largely unaffected by the war, where those with the necessary money could stay as permanent guests and safely ride-out the war in relative comfort. Presumably many such people were prepared to 'make their peace' with whoever emerged as the victor. The "guest hotel" was a main part of the episode in Foyle's War (from imdb.com) Foyle's War: Season 2, Episode 4 The Funk Hole (7 Dec. 2003). A 'Blue Funk' was the wartime equivalent of a panic attack, among servicemen who faced unfavourable mathematical odds of survival (such as the high death-rate among RAF bomber crews)...not cowardice as such, just a temporary 'stress disorder' (See 'A Wobbler' and 'The Yips') that could usually be cured by a stiff drink or three, or four.
Sorry that us Brits have made such a mess of the American language, :-)
ChrisR, Newbury UK (27 JUN 05)
"Depression; a slump." not defined. If depression a hollowed out area No. If mental depression Close. Slump ambiguous; just too vague but I left it in anyway
"panic attack" suggests a transitory state. .. "wartime" is not revelant. .. The word is quite old...I think I have seen funk in victorian writing. There is a 1932 reference in a listing of short story names ( The Funk Hole, (lt) Battle Stories Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov 1932).... From 'American Heritage Dictionary' "Probably from obsolete Flemish fonck, disturbance, agitation"....'Funk Hole' = 'Hiding/Refuge Place'....184.108.40.206 23:10, 27 December 2005 (UTC)mikel
Where is the German verb "funken"? shouldn't it be here as well?