Often Disparaging and Offensive.
[ hil-bil-ee ]
/ ˈhɪlˌbɪl i /
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.
jortsRead more in this article about some frequently asked questions and fun facts related to our definitions.
What Kind Of Songs Get To Be Called “Country Music”?Past and present, country music—and what gets to be called country music—is far more complex than many realize.
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- hill, james jerome,
- hill, joe,
- hillbilly music,
- hillcrest heights,
- hillel foundation,
Origin of hillbilly
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
/ (ˈhɪlˌbɪlɪ) /
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
"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