What Did Hep Mean During The 1920's?


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"Hep" has two slang meanings that I know of:

Hepatitis -- a blood disease which can have very severe effects.  This is still current slang; we refer to "Hep A" and "Hep C" for example, when distinguishing between different kinds of hepatitis.

Hep, hepcat -- I think this slang began in the 1950s beatnik movement.  It means being really cool, jazzy, hip -- as in, "That new club does poetry readings to the sound of bongo drums, it's really a hep place" or "Have you seen Don's new goatee?  It really looks hep; he's such a hepcat."  I don't think women were ever called hepcats.

In the 1920s?  I'm not sure... It could be either or both of these, or something else altogether, but I hope this answer at least gives you a starting place.

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