Hippie Slang

Much like their big brothers the Beatniks, and their cool uncles the Hep Cats, hippies spoke a language of alternative living. And drugs. And they borrowed a word here and there too from the Kerouacs and the Calloways of the world. You’d be forgiven for thinking that they were keen gardeners and amateur bakers, as we’ll now demonstrate. Lay it on me, man!

Hippie Slang

  • Good vs Bad: Groovy/Far Out/Mellow/Right On/The Most are all good.  Bummer/Drag are bad. Gas remains a good thing, and Bad is still a good thing. Kids.
  • Dig: To appreciate greatly, to enjoy. Like jazz heads before them, hippies dug stuff. They especially dug grass, which seems very public spirited of them. Keep America Beautiful, kids!
  • Grass: Mari, and indeed, juana. Which is actually a plant. The keener of you horticulturalists out there will have spotted this schoolboy error, which explains why hippies had shocking lawns.
  • Foxy: Attractive. Hippies had a deep fondness and appreciation for the pointy faced and somewhat smelly fox, and the fat and definitely smelly pig. That’s what marijuana does to you, quite frankly.
  • Ball: To dance, and later to engage in coitus. I’m guessing ballrooms and testicles, but don’t quote me. Frequently one would ball whilst balling, but that’s energetic young things for you.
  • Threads: Clothing. Not to be confused with the 80s nuclear apocalypse documentary, unless you’ve done serious time with grass.
  • Split: To leave. As in making like a banana. The Banana Splits were also a popular children’s TV show in the 60s, and in hindsight, the networks clearly indulged in quite a bit of LSD. Snork, anyone?
  • Pad: One’s domicile or dwelling.
  • Rap: To talk, rather than to yell rhythmically over repetitive beats about policemen, ladies with large bottoms, or Da Club.
  • Pig/Fuzz: A member of the constabulary. This makes no earthly sense at all.
  • Bread: Money. And also actual bread which hippies liked to bake into solid brick-like affairs which broke your teeth and made public restrooms a no go area.
  • Head: The epitome of Hippie. A gentleman, or indeed a lady, who had consumed a quantity of drugs sufficient to make them wise and all-knowing. Or a dribbling wreck in bell bottoms. You decide.
  • Crash: To sleep, sit, stay, or generally lounge. Usually in a Pad. Hippies crashed a lot. Cf. Grass above.
  • Blow Your Mind/Freak Out: Whilst neither was particularly a good thing, they were nevertheless encouraged at all times. And whenever or wherever minds were blown and outs were freaked, you’d find Roger Corman with a camera.
  • Passing the Acid Test: The mantra of the Merry Pranksters, a group of hippie artists led by author Ken Kesey, who dropped LSD, rode across America in a school bus, and filmed the whole thing. This film is still in edit some 50 years later. That’s a hell of a test.

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