The Record of the Term Hippie



Any label, any identify, any phrase has a story. 1st it starts with the etymology – what it literally means – and then it moves on to what that word stood for and what it grew into. Then, in some instances, you have to trudge your way by the several generational meanings that took place, every single ten years a new group of people both accepting, rejecting or altering it. The phrase hippy is no distinctive.

For many years, potentially even centuries, this word has been used to stand for anti-establishment movements and cost-free-pondering. Nonetheless, for some much more included in that establishment, it is also made use of as a derogatory label. Which means those people who go against society and don’t want to align with its values. How can the phrase be two things at the same time? Let’s delve deep into the reality at the rear of the phrase: hippy. 

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Etymology, basically speaking, is the research of the indicating of text and the strategies in which they have altered above time. How was a word made, and how has that term intended various points in diverse moments in background. An instance of this is the term avocado. For the greater part of the environment, an avocado is a fruit (yep, it’s not a vegetable) that folks take pleasure in with eggs for breakfasts, in smoothies or in salads. Having said that, the etymology of it is quite intriguing. Babbel writes:

“The term avocado arrives from Spanish aguacate, which in switch comes from the Nahuatl ahuacatl, that means testicle. Amazed? Most likely, but the much more just one thinks about it, the considerably less surprising it will get — they do alternatively resemble a man’s smooth place, and this resemblance results in being even additional pronounced when you see avocado duos dangling clumsily from trees.”

This new-observed know-how might just as nicely make you seem at avocados in a different way following time you are employing them in a dish. But, as you can see, the meaning behind avocado has altered above time. Presently, it would be not likely for most persons to know the etymology of the term, whilst in yet another time it would have been. 

Evolution of Words

The capacity to communicate and talk is anything that requires us absent from a good deal of other animals, and it has permitted us to construct civilizations, prepare for the future, as nicely as reminisce and discover from the earlier. But this also usually means that we have around 7100 languages currently being spoken in the world these days – all of which are evolving and transforming to in good shape the fashionable globe.  Science Node writes:

“Anyone who is familiar with how ‘to google’, read a ‘vuvuzela’, utilised ‘the grid’ or witnessed a ‘bromance’ will know that a language can improve in excess of time as well new text frequently show up in our vernacular, words and phrases adjust their indicating and aged words little by little die absent.

Dictionaries try to continue to keep on top rated of modifications all around 2,000 new terms were added to the New Oxford American Dictionary in 2010 on your own.”

It’s not only new objects that will need to be included to the dictionary, but also new fashions and developments. For instance, ‘twerking’ turned a popular hip-hop dance and was subsequently added to the listing of dictionary phrases. This was the identical with ‘selfie’, which has turn into so well-known that it is difficult to ignore. 

The Term “Hippie”

It is feasible, nonetheless, for a phrase that has existed for centuries to wholly transform its meaning. This can transpire really immediately too. This is what happened with the word hippy, in a way. In the 1960s, hippy was getting employed both of those as a label of pleasure, as effectively as a derogatory time period. But let us determine out where by it stems from. A person theory is that it derives from the term ‘hip’, which usually means maintaining on-development and in vogue. Nonetheless, in a feeling, this is the reverse of what hippies stood for. Becoming a section of the hippy motion was not about becoming in-trend, it was about standing versus the institution and all that came with that. According to Globe Huge Words, the phrase hippie was initial recorded in print in the 1950s so, in advance of then, it was not currently being utilized to the exact magnitude as it was about to be. Wikipedia writes:

“The conditions hipster and hippie derive from the term hip and the synonym hep… The words hip and hep very first surfaced in slang around the starting of the 20th century and unfold swiftly, building their first look in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1904. At the time, the terms had been utilized to imply “aware” and “in the know”. In the late 1960s, African language scholar David Dalby… claimed that hipi (a term in the Wolof language which means “to open one’s eyes”) was the resource for equally hip and hep”

On the lookout at these meant origins, it seems plausible. You would concur that the hippie movement considered to be ‘in the know’ and had been ‘aware’ of the truths powering the mask of capitalist, war-ridden culture. In addition, the thought of opening someone’s eyes to these truths also aligns very properly with that similar movement. On the other hand, it is also true that the phrase ‘hip’ is utilised to signify remaining trendy. You could envision your cringey grandpa coming residence carrying a cap and inquiring: do I seem ‘hip’? So maybe we’ll require to go a minimal further to comprehend what the phrase hippie really indicates. For this, we will need to know what it stood for and what it nonetheless does stand for. 

The Hippie Motion

The hippie motion was born in the 50s-70s from turmoil and desperation, all through a time when the planet was polarized. In the United states, there were being many groups staying marginalized: the youths, females, and, of training course, none more than those people of color. The civil rights motion was potentially the major battle, with quite a few courageous people talking to the street to consider and create an epic change in people’s thoughts. The aim was equality. This was what the hippie movement stood for. For persons of all races, colours, genders, capabilities, classes – to be taken care of the similar.

The peak of the movement arrived through the Vietnam War, in which hundreds of countless numbers of self-proclaimed hippies went to Woodstock tunes competition in 1969. Some unbelievable musicians played, which includes the likes of: Jimmy Hendrix, The Who and Jefferson Airplane. It was right here wherever hippie culture could be found in full drive. Loads of men and women, with vibrant apparel and at times outrageous hair, dancing and having fun with the lots of leisure substances that mother Earth can offer you. Not only that, but they had been capable to converse and protest in opposition to the several wrongs in culture at the time. There is something worth noting, nevertheless, and it is ideal discussed by Britanica: 

“Hippies ended up largely a white, middle-course group of teenagers and twentysomethings who belonged to what demographers simply call the child-boom era. They felt alienated from center-class culture, which they noticed as dominated by materialism and repression. Hippies produced their possess exclusive life style, whereby they produced a sense of marginality. They experimented with communal or cooperative residing arrangements”

There was a growing team of disillusioned middle-course youths in America who felt shed and with no aims. Loads of these younger folks – angered by the obsession with possessions and the condition of the environment – started out looking for different means to live. Did the civil legal rights movement truly require them? Not definitely, no. Were being a large amount of these folks poor? Probably not. But while the movements that the hippie culture stood for may well not have generally been instantly involving them, they nevertheless stood for them. This meant that, in the finish, the hippie movement form of encompassed the entirety of anti-establishment America – fairly than only the dropped center-class white youngsters. It was the beatles, it was the peace indicator, it was “make like, not war”, it was no cost-thinking, it was intercourse, it was rock n roll. 


It was this all-encompassing definition that inevitably led to the term ‘hippie’ becoming weaponized by the authorities and the media. They observed the hippie motion as a threat. They observed it all as 1 detail – Woodstock, civil rights, girls rights, anti-war protests, rock n roll audio – all of it went against the entire world the authorities needed to maintain. Nixon’s war on medications and advertising of Center America was what began the demonization of the hippie movement. He proclaimed that he stood for the ‘Silent Americans’, the folks who used their time accomplishing their responsibilities and not complaining and disrupting innocent people’s life. This was how he bought the assistance he required. His enemies ended up the hippies and the civil legal rights motion. Nixon’s domestic coverage main John Ehrlichman, explained:

“We understood we couldn’t make it illegal to be both versus the war or black, but by receiving the general public to affiliate the hippies with cannabis and blacks with heroin. And then criminalizing the two closely, we could disrupt those communities… We could arrest their leaders. raid their homes, break up their conferences, and vilify them night after evening on the night information. Did we know we had been lying about the medications? Of program we did.”

This association of medication, anarchy, aggression, irresponsibility and the hippie movement was a thriving smear campaign. It received Nixon the election in 1968, as properly as switching the definition of hippie for good. Even though for numerous it would often imply peace and enjoy, for many others it now stood for the comprehensive reverse. Continue to to this working day, men and women will throw the term hippie all around to suggest something derogatory and unfavorable. 

Final Ideas

The indicating of words will forever change and change, but there are pivotal moments in time exactly where occasions can radically alter their meanings. For ‘hippie’, it was the 60s. This period both of those produced the term and ruined it simultaneously. The hippie motion stood against the potent institution and, in consequence, it was retaliated against with the full pressure of the law enforcement and the media. Of system there’s still time for the phrase ‘hippie’ to shift and improve but, for now, we will have to rejoice that there was a time when it stood for so considerably and we can hope that it will as soon as yet again.

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