Action – activity, goings on

Baby – term of endearment

Beat – beaten down, exhausted, tired, broken by the world

Beatific – against the world, out for kicks

Beatnik – Herb Caen’s mocking term, used sarcastically

Blow – to play, musically

Bread – money

Bring down – to depress

Capped – beaten, bettered

Cat – hip fellow

Chick – female

Collar – to understand

Cool – hip

Cool it – calm down

Corny – old fashioned

Cubby – home

Cut – to leave

Dig – appreciate, understand

Down with – cool, ok

Drag – unfortunate, disappointing

Flip – go crazy

Freeby – no charge

Fuzz – police

Gammin’ – showing off

Gas – laugh

Gravy – money

Groovy – cool, great, happy

Hard – cool, good

Hep – knowledgeable

Hincty – uptight

Holding – in possession of (relating often to drugs)

Igg – short for ignore

Jam – swing music

Jitterbug – fan of swing music

Jive – derogatory, no good

Joint – place, home, location

Kicks – fun, banter, good times

Knock – to give

Latch on – understand

Later – goodbye

Lay on – to give, to lend

Licks – good musical phrases

Lock up – certainty

Man, the – police, authority

Mellow – cool, nothing harsh

Mess – cool, good

Mezz – brilliant

Moo juice – milk

Murder – brilliant

Nang – cool, brilliant, awesome

Nod – sleep, boring

Nutty – madcap, crazy

Ofay – white person

Out of this world – the best

Pad – home, bed

Peng – brilliant, amazing, the best

Pigeon – young girl

Pops – men

Put on – to teach, mock

Riff – musical phrase

Righteous – excellent

Rug cutter – good dancer

Sad – lame, poor quality

Scoff – to eat

Score – to acquire drugs or money

Sharp – neat, cool, smart

Skins – drums

Skirt – sexy female

Slave – any form of work

Solid – great, good, cool

Spoutin’ – talking

Square – boring, lame, uncool

Stash – to hide, put away

Take it slow – be careful

Tapped – poor, broke

Threads – clothes

Tossed – searched by the police

Too much – praise, brilliant

Truck – to go, move

Turn on – take drugs

Unhep – not cool, not hep

Wail – talk, sing

Wig – brain

Wren – a chick, female

Zoot – too much

David S. Wills

David S. Wills is the founder and editor of Beatdom literary journal and the author of Scientologist! William S. Burroughs the Weird Cult and World Citizen: Allen Ginsberg as Traveller. His next book, High White Notes: The Rise and Fall of Gonzo Journalism comes out in November, 2021.

View Comments

  • i think everybody should have a look at lord buckley's 'hipesaurus', which begins as shown below. he was slinging the hep chat when making al capone laugh, long before it was hip to be hip...perhaps he is where Beat began...

    the best, the top most
    " . . solid sent upon the Ace Lick that all Cats and Kitties, Red, White, or Blue are created level in front"
    [ The Gettysburg Address ]

    the finest men, in Lincoln's speech the phrase was '"these honored dead";
    "That from all these ace-stamped studs . . ."
    [ The Gettysburg Address ]

    a Buckleyism meaning a fancy holiday food
    "And Scrooge look around and sees the joint is loaded with apples and bananas and oranges and credileys and acrovats and ripalips and all kinds of crazy, wild grapes and crazy Christmas scenes and nuts and candy . . ."
    [ Scrooge ]

    interesting and stimulating behavior
    "Man that chick is puttin' down some action!!"
    [ Nero ]

    the ultimate example of something
    "Yeah, Nero was an All High Flip Out in Orbit Mother to end All Mothers!"
    [ Nero ]

    citizens of Switzerland
    "To prove and groove with the Alpineheads."
    [ The Hip Einie ]

    and it goes on...

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