Yes! There’s a difference between hippie, hippy, and hipster. There’s a difference in where they came from, what they mean, and even what they’ve grown to mean in our culture today.
Many people assume that with a name like Paradise, I must’ve been raised by some fantastic hippies. And I was, but they did not give me the name Paradise. They gave me a beautiful, classic name (so of course I rebelled and didn’t use it), not wanting to take after Frank Zappa and name his children Moon Unit and Dweezil. Access to great freedom (and joints! :)) is no excuse to torture your children, after all!
Hipster and hippie derive from the word “hip” and the synonym hep.
During the jive era of the late 1930s and early 1940s, African-Americans began to use the term hip to mean “sophisticated, fashionable and fully up-to-date”. Obviously a term that has lasted since most people would still get that “hip” means it is in style, happening, or, cool.
…”aware” and “in the know”…
By the end of the 1950s, especially in Greenwich Village, New York City, young counterculture advocates were widely called hips because they were considered “in the know” or “cool”, as opposed to being square.
There are several more theories about the origin of the word, including one from the opium smokers’ “on the hip” (as they reclined while smoking), through the West African Wolof language word hipicat meaning “one who has his eyes wide open”.
But whatever the exact origin, hips and hippies have maintained a reputation for seeking freedom, for being unconventional, and for not conforming to the standards that other people have set.
There is growing cultural difference in the qualities and characteristics of present day “hipsters” and “hippies”.