[hil-bil-ee]Often Disparaging and Offensive.

noun, plural hill·bil·lies.

a term used to refer to a person from a backwoods or other remote area, especially from the mountains of the southern U.S. (sometimes used facetiously).


of, like, or relating to hillbillies: hillbilly humor.

Origin of hillbilly

An Americanism dating back to 1895–1900; hill + Billy

Usage note

Hillbilly is often used with disparaging intent and perceived as insulting, implying that a person who lives far away from a town or city lacks culture or education. However, this term is also used in a humorous way without intent to offend, and it is sometimes a positive term of self-reference.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for hillbilly

bumpkin, rube, clodhopper, boor, rustic, yokel, hick

Examples from the Web for hillbilly

Contemporary Examples of hillbilly

Historical Examples of hillbilly

  • Obviously a hillbilly, he carried a carbine as though it were a part of him.

    Trading Jeff and his Dog

    James Arthur Kjelgaard

  • Why should he assume a hillbilly family from way out in Oregon was any different?

    The House from Nowhere

    Arthur G. Stangland

  • We got a whole platoon to shoot out and I want to see that hillbilly do the same thing in the standing position.


    Rick Raphael

  • The radio in the car was yangling with hillbilly songs, the only thing you can pick up in Ohio, but I didn't care.

    Highways in Hiding

    George Oliver Smith

  • Nobody had any money except the hillbilly and he went home for the three days and really lived it up.

British Dictionary definitions for hillbilly


noun plural -lies

usually derogatory an unsophisticated person, esp from the mountainous areas in the southeastern US
another name for country and western

Word Origin for hillbilly

C20: from hill + Billy (the nickname)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for hillbilly

"southern Appalachian U.S. resident," by 1892, from hill + masc. proper name Billy/Billie.

Then again, I do not think It will do so well. I would hate to see some old railroad man come here and take my job, and then, I don t think It is right to hire some Hill Billy and give him the same right as I just because he was hired the same time I was. ["The Railroad Trainmen's Journal," vol. IX, July 1892]

In short, a Hill-Billie is a free and untrammelled white citizen of Alabama, who lives in the hills, has no means to speak of, dresses as he can, talks as he pleases, drinks whiskey when he gets it, and fires of his revolver as the fancy takes him. ["New York Journal," April 23, 1900]

In reference to a type of folk music, first attested 1924.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper