Definition of beatnik in English:

beatnik

noun

  • A young person in the 1950s and early 1960s belonging to a subculture associated with the beat generation.

    • ‘Corman introduced beatniks, hippies, and druggies as suitable cases for cinematic treatment, and consciously challenged Hollywood's reigning myth of a classless society.’
    • ‘We also have a lot of the same influences - we both read a lot of the beatniks.’
    • ‘The original mods were more interested in watching French art movies than decking rockers, and they shared a sensibility, if not a dress sense, with the beatniks who hung around the same Soho coffee shops.’
    • ‘The first wave of post-war rebels, beatniks were arty, defiant and left-field.’
    • ‘A child of the beatnik generation, Ruscha's artistic epiphany came appropriately, on that quintessential US icon Route 66, which, as the song has it, runs from Oklahoma City, his home town, all the way to his adopted Los Angeles.’
    • ‘It will also be used by AI as proof that they're actually a mover and shaker in the world, instead of a glorified coffee shop where the beatniks can hang out and complain about everything under the sun.’
    • ‘It was also the introduction of distrust, a sentiment that had only before been embraced by radicals and beatniks, and the realization that all was not well.’
    • ‘They always do things ‘different’ out there - surfers, hippies, beatniks, and Hollywood are always the things people ask about, and they're believed to be the role models for how Californians think.’
    • ‘The beatnik artists from the Hill scene return.’
    • ‘Harriman tempted investors with glossy flyers featuring hard-working miners, who in actual fact were local beatniks.’
    • ‘He was a beatnik and hippie, and was once the manager for the rock group ‘Quicksilver Messenger Service.’’
    • ‘Robin and Clive had been living a beatnik life in Edinburgh well before acid came along.’
    • ‘Hull, once a hideout for beatniks and intellectuals, is now a living catwalk for the super cool and the terminally trendy.’
    • ‘The episodes with beatniks and coffee houses are striking: while Mason epitomizes cool, he disdains nihilism.’
    • ‘My first experiences using a camera were in 1962 when I fooled around with a Brownie on subjects like my friends dressed up as beatniks and, later, the World's Fair in New York.’
    • ‘As San Francisco turned psychedelic, he travelled to Haight-Ashbury with the intention of becoming not a hippy, but a be-bop-fuelled beatnik.’
    • ‘But as these long-haired beatniks graduated from Düsseldorf Conservatory, they became frustrated with both classical formalism and avant-garde jazz.’
    • ‘She's one of the original beatniks, a personal correspondent with Ezra Pound - her list of accomplishments just goes on and on.’
    • ‘Kerouac was a proper beatnik, an existential alchemist of the highway who turned motel dirt into pay dirt by making something heroic-sounding out of his grubby little blunderings about Nowheresville, USA.’
    • ‘Even when describing his initiation as a bebop-loving 20-something into the beatnik scene, Pekar manages to make working in a New York East Village coffee shop in the late 1950s sound mundane.’
    hippy, bohemian, nonconformist, free spirit, avant-gardist, rebel, misfit, outsider, loner, eccentric
    View synonyms

Origin

1950s: from beat + -nik on the pattern of sputnik, perhaps influenced by US use of Yiddish -nik, denoting someone or something who acts in a particular way.

Pronunciation

beatnik

/ˈbētnik//ˈbitnɪk/