‘Krunk’: Definition, Meaning, and Examples

By Sophia Merton, updated on January 13, 2023

What does it mean if someone says that they're 'krunk' or if they describe something as 'krunk'? What about the genre of music known as 'krunk' or 'crunk'?

‘Krunk’ or ‘crunk’ refers to a subgenre of hip-hop music that emerged in the 1990s when it was used as a noun. As an adjective, it means “crazy drunk or high on drugs.” It can also be used to describe something that is hip, cool, or fashionable.

What Does 'Krunk' Mean?

‘Krunk’ is a word that can be used as a noun or an adjective. An alternative spelling of the same word is ‘crunk.’

As a noun, ‘krunk’ means “a particularly energetic style of hip hop music that incorporates synthesizers and electronic sounds along with lyrics that are shouted.” This style of music originated in the Southern US.

The adjective form of the word ‘krunk’ is slang for “wild and lacking restraint” or “extremely drunk or high on drugs.” It can also be used to describe something hip, fashionable, or cool, as well as an enjoyable or fun time.

There is also an obsolete verb ‘crunk’ with a ‘c’ that means “to cry like a crane.” The word ‘obsolete’ means “no longer in use and no longer likely to be understood,” so if you hear someone say the word ‘crunk’ or 'krunk' this is probably not their intended meaning. That being said, we want to make sure you have all possible information in your effort to understand written and spoken speech!

Where Does 'Krunk' Come From?

In the early 1990s, a subgenre of hip-hop music emerged known as ‘crunk.’ You’ll find that it is alternatively written as ‘krunk.’

During the mid-2000s, this hip-hop style gained mainstream success. One of the more dance and club-oriented subgenres of Southern hip hop, and throughout the 2000s, the word ‘crunk’ was used to describe all Southern hip hop.

The name of this genre derives from the African American slang word ‘crunk,’ used as an informal past-participle of the verb ‘to crank.’ The use of this verb ‘to crank’ is used in the sense of ‘crank up.’ The implication of the phrase ‘crunk’ is the act of being high on drugs, drunk, or excited.

The word ‘crunk’ can actually be found in the Dr. Seuss book Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now! from 1972. Without giving any definition for the word, he uses the term ‘Crunk-Car.”

Some people have been able to trace the word back to 80s nightclubs in Atlanta, Georgia, with the meaning of ‘hyped’ or ‘full of energy.’

You could variously find ‘crunk’ defined as “phat,” “pumped up,” or “hype” in the mid-1990s. A glossary was published in Rolling Stone magazine of “Dirty South” slang, with ‘crunk’ being defined as “to get excited.”

The first artist that used ‘crunk’ in mainstream music is said to be the band Outkast in a 1993 song called “Player’s Ball.” 1996 was a big year for the genre of crunk with a number of notable releases, and the 1997 album by Lil Jon Get Crunk, Who U Wit: Da Album, was a major reason that the word became better known among the mainstream.

Lil Jon went even further in popularizing the term with the 2004 album named Crunk Juice and even invented an alcoholic drink by the same name. After this time, the word ‘crunk’ started being used to mean “crazy drunk.”

Though some have suggested that there could be a connection to the German or Yiddish word ‘krank’, which means “sick” or “ill,” there isn’t any evidence that the words are related, and it is instead thought to be a coincidence.

Using the Google Books Ngram Viewer, we see that ‘crunk’ is a more common spelling than ‘krunk’ in published books. Oddly enough, there seems to have been a spike in usage around the 1860s, but this obviously isn’t related to the 1990s hip-hop subgenre or its slang. The word ‘crunk’ peaked in 2008, according to this graph, while ‘krunk’ peaked around 2013.

Examples of 'Krunk' In Sentences

How would you use ‘krunk’ in a sentence? Let’s look at some examples:

  • “Nothing cool used to happen in this town, but nowadays, it’s totally krunk.”
  • Would you go to that party with me, please? It’s going to be krunk.”
  • “I really miss krunk music from the ‘90s– it was the best music to dance to at clubs!”
  • “My coworker and I went to the bar last night, and he got completely krunk. I’ll be surprised if I see him at the office today.”

Other Ways to Say 'Krunk'

If you’re using the word ‘krunk’ to mean “crazy drunk,” here are some other terms you could use instead:

  • Drunk as a skunk
  • Sloshed
  • Smashed
  • Trashed
  • Three sheets to the wind
  • Wasted
  • Intoxicated
  • Pickled
  • Hammered
  • Tanked
  • Plastered
  • Loaded
  • Pie-eyed
  • Toasted

If you’re trying to imply that someone is extremely high on drugs, some synonyms include:

  • High as a kite
  • Lit up
  • Under the influence
  • Baked
  • Blasted
  • Fried
  • Faded
  • Juiced
  • Zoned
  • Zonked

Learning idioms and phrases is a great way to expand your vocabulary and learn about the history and culture surrounding words and their usage. For more fascinating info about common phrases, check out our idioms blog!

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Written By:
Sophia Merton
Sophia Merton is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. Sophia received her BA from Vassar College. She is passionate about reading, writing, and the written word. Her goal is to help everyone, whether native English speaker or not, learn how to write and speak with perfect English.

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