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beatnik

[beet-nik] /ˈbit nɪk/
noun
1.
(sometimes initial capital letter) a member of the Beat Generation.
2.
a person who rejects or avoids conventional behavior, dress, etc.
Origin
1955-1960
1955-60, Americanism; beat (adj.) (as in Beat Generation) + -nik
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for beatnik
  • In the word folknik, for example, the suffix nik is added to the word folk in a way that it reminds us of the word beatnik.
  • To much controversy, he took turtlenecks and leather jackets out of beatnik subculture and made them high fashion.
British Dictionary definitions for beatnik

beatnik

/ˈbiːtnɪk/
noun
1.
a member of the Beat Generation (sense 1)
2.
(informal) any person with long hair and shabby clothes
Word Origin
C20: from beat (n) + -nik, by analogy with Sputnik
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for beatnik
n.

coined 1958 by San Francisco newspaper columnist Herb Caen during the heyday of -nik suffixes in the wake of Sputnik. From Beat generation (1952), associated with beat (n.) in its meaning "rhythm (especially in jazz)" as well as beat (past participle adjective) "worn out, exhausted," but originator Jack Kerouac (1922-1969) in 1958 connected it with beatitude.

The origins of the word beat are obscure, but the meaning is only too clear to most Americans. More than the feeling of weariness, it implies the feeling of having been used, of being raw. It involves a sort of nakedness of the mind. ["New York Times Magazine," Oct. 2, 1952]



"Beat" is old carny slang. According to Beat Movement legend (and it is a movement with a deep inventory of legend), Ginsberg and Kerouac picked it up from a character named Herbert Huncke, a gay street hustler and drug addict from Chicago who began hanging around Times Square in 1939 (and who introduced William Burroughs to heroin, an important cultural moment). The term has nothing to do with music; it names the condition of being beaten down, poor, exhausted, at the bottom of the world. [Louis Menand, "New Yorker," Oct. 1, 2007]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for beatnik

beatnik

noun

A person who is beat in the sense of alienation from society, etc

[1950s+; See beat and -nik; coined by San Francisco newspaper columnist Herb Caen in 1958]


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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13
15
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