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Hippie Dictionary


 

Hippie Dictionary

by Kenneth Lyen

The Hippie Dictionary is a 700-page reference book written by John McCleary. It is not merely an alphabetical listing of words, but has been described as a time capsule capturing the social and political history, the language and lifestyle of the 1960s counterculture.

Yesterday’s hippies are today’s presidential candidates. Therefore it is timely to reexamine this hippie era which spans two decades beginning with the birth control pill in 1960 and ending with the death of John Lennon in 1980. It wasn’t all about sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll. Sure, the prevailing views on sexual freedoms, civil rights, anti-capitalist beliefs, pro-ecology, drugs, and the war in Vietnam bordered on the extreme.

But as McCleary writes, "society threw the baby out with the bathwater in rejecting hippie ideals; what's most important here is to recognize the 1960s as a period of experimentation, where there was a sense of community, a spiritual revolution, and an evolutionary jump in consciousness." Some now regard the sixties and seventies as "the intellectual renaissance of the 20th century."

McCleary defines "hippie" as "a member of a counterculture that began appearing in the early 1960s, which expressed a moral rejection of the established society. The true hippie believes in and works for truth, generosity, peace, love and tolerance. The messengers of sanity in a world filled with greed, intolerance and war."

"The word is in turn derived from the word "hip", meaning roughly "in the know," or "aware."

Here are a couple of words defined in the dictionary:

"Hippie chick": a free-spirited, sexually liberated young woman. There was a look and style of dress attributed to a hippie chick. Usually, she had long, loose hair; she wore beads, no bra and a lightweight blouse over a long, flowing, Indian print dress above bare feet.

"Flower power": the power of peaceful, nonviolent action. Pacifism, the turning of one’s cheek, the religion of righteousness and believing that what is right will eventually prevail. The nature of a flower is quiet tenacity, a strong self-preservation hidden by delicate beauty and sensitivity; this is the spirit of the liberal intellectual human being called the hippie.

Other words and expressions that either originated or were popularised during these two decades are:

Bash, funk, check it out, cop-out (to give into pressure), cop a feel, don't quit your day job, freak out, The Compleat Idiot's Guide, groovy, do your own thing, don't trust anyone over 30, where one's head is at, right on, golden oldie, no way Jose, wazoo, party hearty, let it all hang out, don't worry -- be happy, gorp ("good old raisins and peanuts," a hippie staple), op art (far-out, man), stratocaster (Hendrix), ripple (if you got the right month).

The Hartford Courant says it best: "The 1960s and '70s were a trip: bad as in good, heavy as in deep, cosmic as in far-out, high as in clean out of sight... In retrospect, the phrase that most accurately defines the 1960s and '70s is: astral plane."