beat·​nik ˈbēt-nik How to pronounce beatnik (audio)
: a person who participated in a social movement of the 1950s and early 1960s which stressed artistic self-expression and the rejection of the mores of conventional society
broadly : a usually young and artistic person who rejects the mores of conventional society

Examples of beatnik in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Juliette Gréco: the original beatnik chick, from before there were even beatniks. Bart Bull, SPIN, 20 June 2023 In the background looms Argentina’s dark years—a period of countless disappearances, which fell between the beatnik heyday of the Melancholical Forgers, Inc., and the moment in the late Eighties when Enriqueta last saw Renée. Matthew Gavin Frank, Harper's Magazine, 21 Mar. 2022 The series starred Martin Milner’s college dropout Tod Stiles and Maharis’s Buz, a moody working-class beatnik inspired by Jack Kerouac. Vulture, 28 May 2023 The café boasted the city’s first espresso machine and catered to the beatnik scene. oregonlive, 23 Mar. 2023 According to his son, Crump was a beatnik with a reputation as a rebel among the Disney fold. Todd Martens, Los Angeles Times, 13 Mar. 2023 Crump was known for his eccentric beatnik style and pop art approach, which was evident in his personal art projects, such as a series of posters celebrating drugs. Pat Saperstein, Variety, 13 Mar. 2023 It’s as though this is some leftover reaction to the beatnik and hippie movements of the 1950s and ‘60s. Gordon Monson, The Salt Lake Tribune, 25 Dec. 2022 Everybody in the audience wants to see the English guitar band, and here's this kind of beatnik-looking guy from New Jersey. Sam Gillette, Peoplemag, 23 Sep. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'beatnik.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


beat entry 3 + -nik

First Known Use

1958, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of beatnik was in 1958

Dictionary Entries Near beatnik

Cite this Entry

“Beatnik.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Sep. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on beatnik

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!