Where is the "head shop"?

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Jun 15 14:58:37 UTC 2001

At 9:40 PM -0400 6/15/01, Douglas Bigham wrote:
>I've probably just over looked it.  But, I can't find "head shop"
>anywhere (OED Online most importantly).  I wanted to know if the
>"head" part related to (Grateful) Dead-heads, but I'm at loss here.
>I know this is a common word (a place where one buys
>marijuana-smoking accessories) and I know it is NOT exclusive to
>Southern Illinois. Am I missing something?  Do y'all know this term?
>Can anyone help me on the history?
"Head shop" is not in RHHDAS either, but only because I assume they
consider it to be a transparent nominal compound, viz. 'shop for
heads'.  I agree with you that it's lexicalized and should be listed.
In any event, "head" has a nice listing--it's a lot earlier than the
Dead, but both "head" (glossed in the HDAS as 'a habitual user of
psychotropic or hallucinogenic drugs') and the -head of "Deadhead"
have the same origin, the -head suffix attested from at least the
1930's ('a person addicted or habituated to (a specified kind of
alcoholic beverage or psychotropic drug or substance)').  The
earliest "head" as a free-standing noun (= 'a drug addict') is from
the dread anti-dope fiend Anslinger of cursed memory, in '53, but
presumably it was already well established in the...well, head
community by then.


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