"depression, ill-humor," perhaps from earlier sense "cowering state of fear" (1743), identified in OED as originally Oxford slang, probably from Scottish and Northern English verb funk "become afraid, shrink through fear, fail through panic," (1737), of unknown origin. Perhaps from Flemish fonck "perturbation, agitation, distress," which is possibly related to Old French funicle "wild, mad."
"bad smell," 1620s, probably from the verb funk in the sense "blow smoke upon; stifle with offensive vapor" (though this is not recorded until later 17c.). It is from dialectal French funkière "to smoke," from Old French fungier "give off smoke; fill with smoke," from Latin fumigare "to smoke" (see fume (n.)).
Not considered to be related to obsolete funk (n.) "a spark," mid-14c., fonke, a general Germanic word (compare Dutch vonk, Old High German funcho, German Funke. The Middle English word is probably from Low German or from an unrecorded Old English form.
In reference to a style of music felt to have a strong, earthy quality, it is attested by 1959, a back-formation from funky (q.v.).
1823, American English college slang, original meaning "to back out, give up, fail," of obscure origin, traditionally said to be an alteration of British university slang funk "to be frightened, shrink from" (see funk (n.1)). Meaning "cause to fail, give a failing mark to" is from 1843. Related: Flunked; flunking.
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 (it was defined in "Time" magazine, Nov. 8, 1954) and in the 1960s acquired a broad slang sense of "fine, stylish, excellent."
1920, originally vitamine (1912) coined by Polish biochemist Casimir Funk (1884-1967), from Latin vita "life" (from PIE root *gwei- "to live") + amine, because they were thought to contain amino acids. The terminal -e formally was stripped off when scientists learned the true nature of the substance; -in was acceptable because it was used for neutral substances of undefined composition. The lettering system of nomenclature (Vitamin A, B, C, etc.) was introduced at the same time (1920).
Regarding an antithesis to 'promote,' the word universally in use in Cambridge, in Harvard College, is drop. The same word is in use in the leading schools here (Boston). I hope I may be counted every time against such barbarisms as 'demote' and 'retromote.' [Edward Everett Hale, 1892, letter to the publishers of "Funk & Wagnalls' Standard Dictionary"]
Related: Demoted; demoting.
1950, coined by U.S. writer L. Ron Hubbard (1911-1986). In "Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health" (1950), the glossary connects the word to Greek dianoua "thought." "Self Analysis" by Hubbard (1951) quotes an etymology said to have been added to the Funk & Wagnalls New Standard Dictionary: "Gr. dianoetikos--dia, through plus noos, mind."
There was an earlier dianoetic (1670s) "of or pertaining to thought," from Greek dianoetikos "of or for thinking; intellectual," from dianoetos, verbal adjective from dianoe-esthai "to think," from dia- "through" (see dia-) + noe-ein "to think, suppose," from noos "mind," which is of uncertain origin.