The stink/The stank

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at RCI.RUTGERS.EDU
Fri Jan 21 08:39:45 UTC 2005

On Fri, 21 Jan 2005 02:02:55 EST, Douglas Bigham <TlhovwI at AOL.COM> wrote:

>Anecdote Alert: "Stank" has been my body-odor noun of choice at least since
>high school.

Note also that in hiphop/funk circles, "stank" has followed the
ameliorative path of "funk(y)", from malodorous to melodious.  The
positive sense was popularized on the album _Stankonia_ (2000) by the
Atlanta hiphop duo Outkast (who have a penchant for saying things like
"Stank you very much").


Message-ID: <52idpk$1rta at>
Date: 1996/09/28
Subject: Re: Essential funk from '95-'96

This record is soooo Funky that I call it "stank"...


Message-ID: <3c86f2fa&v02140b0db21fb570f641@[]>
Date: 1998/09/12
Subject: On Deck Reviews (Sep 98)

So funky it's stank nasty.


Message-ID: <3716ac55 at>
Date: 1999/04/15
Subject: Everybody loves the sunshine.....

Donald Byrd is funky...but James Brown is straight up STANK!


Message-ID: <19991109230633.24298.00003677 at>
Date: 1999/11/10
Subject: The reason you should buy Prince's new CD...

good to see da man can crank out a hot jam and put sum stank on it!!


Message-ID: <B50812D6.E94%hawkins at>
Date: 2000/03/29
Subject: Re: New Maceo

If it ain't stank, it stinks.


New York Times
October 29, 2000, Section 2; p. 32

OutKast, the Atlanta group that made Southern hip-hop competitive with
anything from the East or West Coast, puts a funky Southern-accented
"stank" at the core of its fourth album, "Stankonia" (LaFace/Arista


Atlanta Journal-Constitution
February 26, 2002, p. 1E

They christened the studio "Stankonia," which Benjamin created by
combining a slang synonym for funky --- "stank"--- with "Plutonia," the
title of a poster depicting a futuristic city that hangs in the rapper's


--Ben Zimmer

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