Do You Know All These Hippie Phrases?

By: Olivia Cantor
Image: SeanShot/E+/Getty Images

About This Quiz

People within the hippie culture were generally rebellious by nature. This meant they loved challenging the status quo, challenging traditional cultural structures and societal systems, and, of course, they loved challenging pop culture and politics in general. But what about language?

Language is, of course, the very first aspect of human culture that gets changed whenever there are upheavals in society. Be it a small one or a major one, these changes are often reflected in the way we do things. And it definitely gets reflected in the language we use, first and foremost. For how do we communicate what we think, how do we communicate our dissent, our objects, and how do we communicate our thoughts and feelings about many things? Language is the key here.

There are times when language changes formally, then gets cascaded down to everybody. But more often than not, language actually changes from the ground up. What's slang today or yesterday could be tomorrow's important buzz word. What's informal right now might find its way into formal systems eventually.

That's how the language of hippies was, too. Or perhaps we should say is - since many of these phrases are still quite in use today. Take a peek and see if you can guess what they all mean!

What does it mean if a hippie friend says your idea is “far out”?

A “far out” idea is a great one, if only in theory. Some people say the term has been developed from the longer phrase “out of sight.”

If your hippie friend is “out of bread,” what is he or she lacking?

“Bread” (or the lack of it) is the hippie term for money. The phrases used with this main word probably developed as cash was needed to buy food back then – and even now, of course.

When hippies say, “it’s a bummer, man,” what are they trying to say?

When something is a “bummer,” it means that there are some things that didn’t go as one has expected. The term probably came from “bum rap,” which means something was unfairly done.

If your friend yells, “time to split,” what do you do?

When it’s “time to split,” that means it’s time to go away, to leave, or to escape the current scene or location where one is staying. The origin of the phrase is murky, but it’s still in use until today.

What did Jimi Hendrix mean when he used the phrase “Foxy Lady”?

“Foxy” means that a woman is truly sexy. It’s a gender-specific compliment for women. The origin of the term is still being debated, though.

Fill in the blanks of this classic hippie phrase: “Make _______, not war!”

“Make love, not war,” sums up the anti-war stance of the hippie subculture of the 1960s. The “love” part means “free love,” which was against marriage and similar traditions, so that includes they prefer all kinds of non-traditional “love practices” of a sexual nature, like premarital sex, and orgies, to name a few.

Is “give me some skin” a lewd invitation or pickup line?

To “give some skin” means that the other person wants to shake your hand. In later times, this also included high-fives, but not necessarily hugs and fist bumps.

Who is “the Man,” who is “always keeping you down”?

The “Man,” and “the man keeping you down,” are terms that hippie counterculture used to describe any organization that tries to control people, and it’s not a good thing. These terms date back to around the 1920s, where “the Man” was one’s employer.

If you were a hippie, what are you concerned about when you ask someone “What’s your bag?”

Asking someone “what’s their bag” is a hippie way of asking what’s on that person’s mind, or what’s troubling them. The term is related to the idea of “mental baggage,” and it concerns someone’s emotional state or well-being.

If a person said something was “out of sight,” what does that mean?

“Out of sight” is a hippie term to emphasize that something was truly excellent. The term was already in use by the 1900s, but only became famous in the 1960s and gained a bigger currency of usage during the counterculture era.

If a perplexed person says “Sock it to me,” what are they trying to say?

“Sock it to me” means that a person wants to know something, even if they won’t like it. There are sexual and comedic uses for it, too. Aretha Franklin’s famous 1967 song "R-E-S-P-E-C-T" used this line as a form of refrain, too.

If you can “dig the music,” what is it you’re doing?

“Digging” anything means you understand what it’s about. You don’t have to like it; that’s another thing entirely.However, the word crossed over generations later, since it’s still being used today. The musical group, TLC, had a 1995 hit entitled “Diggin’ on You” which extended the meaning into “liking it” territory.

It’s one of the most famous hippie phrases. What should peace be given?

“Give peace a chance” was a cornerstone phrase for hippie counterculture. It stated the pacifist and inclusive nature of hippies. John Lennon immortalized this hippie sentiment in a famous 1969 song, which is still relevant up to now.

If a guy says his “old lady" is waiting for him, who’s he talking about?

The phrase, “old lady,” is a term of endearment by men reserved for their wives or girlfriends. Whether or not it has something to do with growing old together is anyone’s guess.

If your laid-back friend looks at your shirt and says “it’s groovy,” what does it mean?

The use of “groovy” actually began in the 1920s as a jazz slang word, and it became popular with hippies decades later. The simplest meaning is that you’re on the right track or groove, and you’re doing well. So to have a groovy shirt means you’re on the right track of being fashionable.

If your hippie friends are saying you’re “waving your freak flag,” what are you displaying at that moment?

The “freak flag” is the one you wave when you’re the weirdest person in the room at the moment. Some people point to Jimi Hendrix using the phrase in a song as one reason why the term became famous. That song is entitled “If 6 was 9,” released in 1967.

If you understand hippie culture, you just “go with the flow.” What does it really mean?

“Go with the flow” has many meanings, but it is usually used to ask another person to be less extreme, and to just generally cooperate. Some people trace the phrase back to Zen philosophy and Shakespeare’s plays. It’s also symbolic of not going against the flow of a river, because that exercise is futile, so you just go with the flow and be less aggressive.

Why is it a good idea to “hang loose” after a long week?

“Hanging loose” simply means that you are relaxed. The term comes from the opposing visual to being tightly wound when stressed.

Should you feel good if your friend said “right on,” after hearing your opinion?

“Right on” can mean that what someone said is not only correct, but exactly right. People are still debating if it’s from “right on target,” or “right on time,” though these two thoughts essentially suggest the same concept.

If you’ve been “busted by the fuzz,” where would you be now?

The “fuzz” simply refers to the police. Some people say the term comes from the fuzzy hair that cops used to have, like crew cuts.

If your hippie friend says that another person is “all show, no go,” is that person OK?

“All show, no go” is a fancy hippie phrase to say that something is superficial. In other words, it looks good, but it’s actually useless or of low value.

If you want to “lay it on” your best friend, what are you trying to do?

“Lay it on me” was used as a term for telling a person something important. Some people say the term comes from the idea of sharing a burden among friends or peers.

If you have an "ankle-biter,” what does that make you?

“Ankle-biter” is an unflattering term for a baby or a small child. It’s also sometimes used to describe small dogs or animals. So if you have one of these, that makes you a parent.

If “you’re bogarting” all the chocolate in the house, what are you doing?

When you’re “bogarting” something, that means you’re keeping it all to yourself. Some people say it refers to how long a cigarette can dangle from Hollywood icon Humphrey Bogart’s mouth.

What does it mean if you’re “going steady”?

“Going steady” was popularized in hippie culture. It means that one is in an exclusive relationship with another person. It’s still in use today, but it’s interesting to note that it’s used by the general population, not just hippie-like people.

If you’re “having a gas” during a party, what’s happening?

When you’re “having a gas,” that’s hippie code for having fun, or laughing a lot. It’s said that the term came from using nitrous oxide, or laughing gas.

When you say a friend has “gone ape” over a promise you broke, what does that mean?

“Going ape” is a hippie phrase for getting very angry, sometimes with violence involved. It’s the visual idea of someone acting like an angry gorilla.

When a woman resorts to using “foam domes,” what is she doing?

Back in the hippie era, some women would use tissue paper or the like to stuff their bras, with the intention of making their breasts look bigger. The term for these artificial endowments was “foam domes.”

Should you be concerned if someone “bagged your stuff?”

If someone “bagged your stuff,” that means they did put some of your stuff in a bag – theirs! It’s an indirect phrase meaning your stuff has been stolen.

When a hippie says he’s “scoring some grass,” what’s he doing?

“Grass,” of course, is the most obvious term for marijuana in hippie lingo. Given how the marijuana plant look, it’s no surprise that they would call it that.

Good golly, what did it mean if Miss Molly “liked to ball”?

A woman who “likes to ball” started out meaning that she loved parties. As hippie culture came in, it became popular slang for sexual intercourse.

When a hippie says that “this thing is heavy,” what is the meaning of it?

When something is “heavy,” that’s hippie-speak for how something is affecting your emotions, something that’s weighing on you, or weighing you down. The term obviously crossed generations, since you can hear this term being dropped casually – and often – by Marty McFly in the 1980s' trilogy, “Back to the Future.”

If a party “blew the doors off,” was it successful?

When you “blow the doors off” something, it means that it was so good, it was like an explosion happened in a small room. It’s a phrase used for emphasis to connote success.

If you’re “watching the submarine race,” what are you doing?

If you’re “watching the submarine race,” you’re not actually watching anything. However, you’re probably making out and more, usually by the beach!

Is a “five-finger discount” a real deal?

Don’t ever do a “five finger discount” because it’s a flowery hippie phrase that refers to shoplifting! It eventually came to mean anything stolen in any way, so don't do it unless you want the fuzz on your trail.

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