beat·​nik | \ ˈbēt-nik How to pronounce beatnik (audio) \

Definition of beatnik

: 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 Stand-up partially originated in the Village in the 1950s, in coffeehouses where folk musicians and beatnik poets entertained too. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, "4 Perfect Days in New York, According to Our Editors," 14 Apr. 2020 But that generation-defining gesture isn’t just the stale move of a 1950s beatnik. New York Times, "Jerome Robbins: You’re Missed in This ‘West Side Story,’ Daddy-o," 24 Feb. 2020 There’s a touch of the beatnik and a touch of the hippie here. Brian T. Allen, National Review, "Radical Italian Art Goes Over the Top, Dazzlingly, in Houston," 29 Feb. 2020 Biographies of Chuck Berry, Hank Williams and Ray Charles compete for space on his shelves alongside beatnik tomes by Kerouac and Burroughs, and even a copy of Spoken Urdu. Jordan Runtagh,, "New Book of Jeff Buckley’s Journals and Belongings Offers a Vivid Self-Portrait of the Late Artist," 31 Oct. 2019 Perhaps in response the free surfer has turned ever more scraggly-haired, more rambling beatnik. Jamie Brisick, The New Yorker, "Surfing in the Age of the Omnipresent Camera," 26 Aug. 2019 The ecstatic transport here was as much to Fluxus as to the San Francisco beatnik clubs of the 1950s. Los Angeles Times, "Review: At Descanso Gardens, music meets nature and ‘Silence’ means many things," 8 Sep. 2019 And his costumes harmonized with Mardi Gras Indians and French Quarter beatniks and bluesmen and the legend of a voodoo priest. Doug Maccash,, "The world reacts to Dr. John’s death," 6 June 2019 Also, the Cool Post Office was founded in 1885, so Todd must have either been a very forward-thinking beatnik, or a time-traveling one. Ken Jennings, Condé Nast Traveler, "Of Course California Has a Town Named 'Cool'," 28 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'beatnik.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of beatnik

1958, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for beatnik

beat entry 3 + -nik

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Time Traveler for beatnik

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The first known use of beatnik was in 1958

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Cite this Entry

“Beatnik.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Feb. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of beatnik

: a young person who was part of a social group in the 1950s and early 1960s that rejected the traditional rules of society and encouraged people to express themselves through art

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