phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Hip jargon circa 1971

Posted by Mike Jahn on June 16, 2004

I have a post elsewere on this site regarding my purported coinage of the term "heavy metal." That occurred while I was serving as first rock critic of The New York Times. At that same time I compiled a list of hip jargon, which I published in The New York Times Magazine of June 6, 1971, under the title "If You Think It's Groovy to Rap, You're Shucking." The article was intended to be funny as well as an interesting piece of cultural documentation, and still is both, in my opinion. Anyway, David Frost thought it funny enough to have me on his TV show to talk about it.

I just scanned the thing and posted it on my noncommercial site about those days, "Tales of the Ancient Rocker." You can find the page at

It's fun. I'm amazed by how many of those terms have passed into the mainstream. Last year a thirtyish executive of a multinational corporation called me "dude." And "rap," I find, has changed mainly to the extent of adding instrumentation.

Here are some of the terms dissected --

roovy, heavy, rap, high, stoned, bust, cosmic, where it's at, trip, groove on, hassle, organic, out of sight, outasight, put down, strung out, together, vibrations, vibes, goof on, far out, bummer, shuck, the Planet, get down, get it on, turn his head around, get into, spaced, wrecked, wasted, trash, right on, brother, sister, the Third World, power to the people,
the pig, do a number, rip off, grass, marijuana, weed, dope, acid, joint, smack, toke, roach, roach clip, dealer, pusher, head, freak, dig, gig, truck, jive, dude, cat, and various permutations thereof.

A note to minimize confusion -- I also write fiction under the name Michael Jahn, and have a site for that as well. But fiction isn't today's topic, just cultural silliness.

Mike Jahn