Hipsters are a subculture that has grown into a substantial demographic in the last ten years. While a lot of people want to deny their hipster-ness, casual observation will tell an onlooker another story.
Hipster Words: Hipster Slang You Need to Know in 2020
When you hear hipsters talking, it can help confirm their membership in this counter-culture demographic.
Types of Hipster Words
We’ve found that hipster words fall into a few general categories. The first is a terminology that is so retro it is now tongue-in-cheek, or ironic.
Many hipsters like to use words from past eras such as the 1980s, but with slightly less mocking feel, and a bit more of a nostalgic vibe. “Rad” is one example of ironic or retro hipster words.
Secondly, we have to understand that language is constantly evolving, whether we like it or not. Even hipsters from the 2000s who are now entering their late thirties or even their early forties will eventually use some of these more updated terms as they hear them more and more at coffee shops, in grocery stores, and online by younger demographics.
Even if you try to resist some of these terms at first, at least a couple will inevitably make it into your vocabulary because of the common usage by young people. Hipsters were never known for getting too stuck in their ways like some older people, even if they do embrace vintage clothing.
So, a true hipster will continually evolve their vocabulary to be a bit different than the mainstream, while also being relevant and new.
Thirdly, there is a category of hipster words that seem to evolve out of pure hipster culture on its own. Some of these phrases could be derived from hipster activities, while others might come from TV shows that appeal to the demographic.
So, while hipster words and phrases are continually changing, these are some of our favorites or the ones we hear most often.
Bronson is another word for beer in the hipster world, potentially stemming from drinking while watching old Charles Bronson flicks.
For example, “PBR is too popular now, everyone is drinking it. I’ve got some super hoppy, local Bronsons at home if you want to try one.”
“Deck” is a more updated word that implies the same concept as fresh, cool, or edgy. Words like fresh or cool are pretty uncool to most hipsters. So, deck takes the place of older terms.
For instance, “He showed up wearing this vintage hat that you’d think would be awful on him, but he made it work. He looked deck. It was a moment.”
You’ll see a lot of words shorted in hipster slang, and “devo” is no exception. “Devo” is short for “devastated.”
For example, “He broke up with me two months ago, and I’ve been on some dates and keep acting like I’m doing okay, but honestly, I’m totally devo.”
Fin, Fins, or Finsies
“Fin” or “finsies” can mean one of two things, but both are somewhat negative. It can either refer to something being “not it” or as something being lame. It can grant you immunity during a game (if used as “not it”) or can describe something being uncool.
For example, an album is “fin” because it is considered terrible.
“FOMO” is another abbreviation that became a word of its own and stands for the “fear of missing out.” Much of the usage and development of the idea of FOMO stems from social media.
Many hipsters, at least the ones who haven’t ditched social media for being too mainstream, deal with the double-edged sword of wanting to post the best snippets of their lives, but also fall prey to the jealousy and depression that can come from seeing others enjoying life.
For instance, “I had to take a break from Instagram because it was making me depressed. Too many people from college still see each other, and I never have the money to travel as they do. Instagram gives me major FOMO anxiety lately.”
An unattractive guy who thinks he’s good looking or talks too highly of himself.
Contrasting FOMO is “JOMO.” Also closely linked to social media, but also related to group texts or invitations to events in general, JOMO is shorthand for the “joy of missing out.”
JOMO tends to apply more to slightly older hipsters who are over the whole going out scene, as well as younger hipsters who are more introverted.
JOMO is being happy you didn’t have to deal with social anxiety, awkwardness, buying a gift for gift-giving events, and instead, you got to stay home on the couch, and watch Netflix.
For example, “Dude, I saw Madison had a housewarming party, and a bunch of people I hate running into were there. I sent her a DM that I was sick, and it gave me major JOMO vibes.”
Ah, “kale.” Something so loved by hipsters that it has transcended a food that should be on every plate and in almost every smoothie or juice blend. Kale now also means money, the way “cheddar” used to in past decades.
We have to be vegan with our monetary terms, though, and kale is green, so it makes more sense for talking about cash anyway.
For instance, “I’ll Venmo you the money for the tickets. Since I stopped making tips with my new job, I never have any kale on me.”
“Midtown,” potentially stemming from Brooklyn, New York hipsters, refers to something that is way too mainstream and therefore uncool.
For example, “I liked The Lumineers back in the day before they got huge, but now, I don’t know. They’re just so Midtown.”
Used by both young people and hipsters to convey your agreement with something, or to caption an image (even if it’s something you see in real life) by saying you feel that way.
For instance, you see a picture of a lion looking fierce and majestic, and you’ve been feeling like a boss, so you say, “Mood.”
You can use “obvi” as a shortened version of the word obvious. For example, Post Malone’s new single is decent but overplayed, obvi.”
“A city where young people go to retire.” –Portlandia. The birthplace of hipsters and hipster words, also known as Portland, Oregon.
Put a Bird on It
A much-quoted phrase by those who watched the popular hipster show Portlandia. It can be used to say something would be enhanced by a bird decal (mostly tongue-in-cheek), or it can be used to imply something is too obviously “hipster” and therefore should be obsolete.
For example, “I used to love avocado toast, but it’s so overdone now. I can’t open a menu without seeing avocado toast. It’s like every restaurant’s idea of put a bird on it.”
Povo is short for poverty-stricken. As in, “I want to go to Burning Man, but I’m so povo these days, I just can’t swing it.”
This term resurrected from the 1980s, meaning radical, but used as if something is cool, fresh, or deck.
If you have heard the common usage of the phrase, “same” then you might be thinking; this is already a word, how is this a new term? “Same” is by no means only a hipster term.
It’s also primarily utilized by Gen Z and younger Millennials. However, it’s part of the evolution of American English slang and also used by a lot of hipsters.
The term “same” is simply shorthand for the phrase “same here.” For example, a friend complains they are short on cash but can’t stop shopping at Whole Foods because other grocery stores don’t have enough fair trade, organic, gluten-free, non-GMO items.
You agree, so you reply, “same.”
“Sesh” is short for a session, as in, “We had a rad brainstorming sesh.”
A girl, often an attractive female, but sometimes used in an unflattering way, as in someone who might work as an exotic dancer for money.
The terms “vibes” is not at all limited to hipsters alone, but it’s become so common among people in their thirties and younger, that it’s hard to avoid using it or hearing it when out and about in hipster areas.
Vibes started from new-age ideas such as the law of attraction, as well as getting a certain “mood” from a location, person, or event. Since then, the idea of “putting out good vibes” or “good vibes only” has morphed a bit into just “vibes” to explain a feeling or general positive energy in a variety of situations.
For example, you could use the term as in, “I had a blind date last night and wasn’t expecting anything, but as soon as we started talking, vibes. It’s like I’ve known him for years.”
Or you could use it to relate to another person’s frame of mind. For example, “I’ve been so depressed lately, but I’m excited about my birthday because it’s like a fresh start.”
In response, “Yeah, vibes!” In this context, “vibes” is similar to the usage of the word “same.”
No longer most popularly referring to the historic town in Virginia. Williamsburg is also a neighborhood of Brooklyn that is home to a substantial hipster population, and therefore a breeze of hipster words can be heard while walking through Williamsburg.
Hipster words are ever-evolving and continuously get new phrases added to everyday language. Try following some hipster accounts on Twitter or Instagram, and you’re bound to add a ton of new words to your vocabulary. Now tell us your favorite hipster words!