Green’s Dictionary of Slang

hip adj.

[hep adj. (1) or ? the posture of the opium smoker, reclining on their hip and the idea that the term, e.g. ‘are you hip?’, was used as a form of recognition between smokers; a link to Wolof hepi, to see or hipi, to open one’s eyes has been posited. As relating to hipster n. the word had a more specific meaning to jazz buffs/beatniks of 1950s, but now the general use is predominant]

1. [20C+] sophisticated, aware, in tune with events, ideas and situations; often as hip to.

2. [1940s–50s] (US) insolent, cheeky.

3. [1940s+] (US black) splendid, enjoyable.

4. [1960s+] (US black) in possession of or able to supply drugs.

In derivatives

hipism (n.)

a slang term used by those who are hip.

In compounds

In phrases

get hip (to) (v.)

[20C+] to understand, to recognize, to work out.

have one’s hip boots on (v.) [pun on sense 1 above/SE hip + boots]

[1930s–60s] to be sophisticated, aware.

hip to the tip

[1950s] (US black) to the greatest extent, e.g. dressed up in one’s best clothes.

hip up (v.)

[1970s] (US) to understand, to appreciate.