Skip to main content

What is a hipster? Key hipster words?

According to the Urban Dictionary, hipsters are:  

men and women typically in their 20's and 30's {who} value independent thinking, counter-culture, progressive politics, an appreciation of art and indie-rock, creativity, intelligence, and witty banter.
Sounds flattering - what's not to like about  'creativity, intelligence, and witty banter'? And yet 'hipster' is a label nobody wants to claim

Associations with the word hipster have subtly changed in recent years. Originally the term was relatively neutral and descriptive. By the 1990s it had become pejorative: being a hipster indicated pretentiousness and self obsession. The satirical magazine The Onion drew on this feeling for their brilliant headline
 'Two Hipsters Angrily Call Each Other 'Hipster!'

Why the change? Perhaps a clue lies in the nearest British equivalent: 'poseur'. In the English-speaking world there is a deeply ingrained cultural suspicion of those who affect 'continental' intellectual airs - see the fun Kingsley Amis has with Bernard in Lucky Jim (1954), for example

There's an interesting discussion of the use of hipster in this Way With Words podcast. And a description of the ultimate hipster cult, Dudeism, here.

Essential hipster words: metanarrative, meme, paradigm, discourse

English Language 100 FAQ Teaching Pack  only £1.99 using discount code CQDWKF0


Popular posts from this blog

Top 10 most quoted lines of poetry in English?

Mark Forsyth (The Inky Fool) has analysed Google Search query result data for lines of verse requested online. Here is the Top Ten:

What is the origin of the word alphabet?

Why is English not the official language of England?

58 countries list English as an official language - but not the UK. The world's lingua franca or second language is not, technically, the 'official' language of its birthplace. The de factoofficiallanguage of the United Kingdom is English,[3][4] which is spoken by approximately 59.8 million residents, or 98% of the population, over the age of three.[1][2][10][11][12] An estimated 700,000 people speak Welsh in the UK,[13] an official language in Wales