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Head, head shop

Posted by ESC on February 25, 2003

In Reply to: Head Shop posted by R. Berg on February 25, 2003

: : : : Any idea as to the etymology of the term "head shop"? Thanks for any clues.

: : : "Head Shops" existed way back a long time ago in the mid to late sixties.
: : : They catered to a customer who liked to feed his or her head with mind or mood altering substances.

: : There were still one or two head shops around in the late 70's in London, usually masquerading as something else. I particularly remember a wonderfully titled shop called "Dark They Were And Golden-Eyed" in London's Soho, just off Wardour Street, that sold books, smoking accessories and pamphlets dealing with esoteric plant care. Sadly as time went by, they decided to drop the herbaceous-related lines, and reinvented themselves as Forbidden Planet, which sold nothing but books.

: Such establishments may have been called head shops because people who favored one substance or another were called potheads, acidheads, meth-heads, and so on.

HEAD - 1. A hippie 2. A devotee of a particular drug, as in "acid head" or "pot head." 3. A chronic drug user. Although the word has a strong association with hippies and the 1960s, it was used as early as 1937 to mean a habitual drug user.

HEAD SHOP - A store catering to drug-using hippies, selling legal drug paraphernalia and experience-enhancing accoutrements such as incense or strobe lights.

From "Flappers 2 Rappers: American Youth Slang" by Tom Dalzell (1996, Merriam-Webster, Springfield, Mass.)