Hip is a slang term sometimes defined as fashionably current, and in the know. It has also been defined as "an attitude, a stance" in opposition to the "unfree world", or to what is square, or prude.
Hip, like cool, does not refer to one specific quality. What is considered hip is continuously changing.
Origin of term
The term hip is recorded in African American Vernacular English (AAVE) in the early 1900s. In the 1930s and 1940s, it had become a common slang term, particularly in the African-American dominated jazz scene.
Research and speculation by both amateur and professional etymologists suggest that "hip" is derived from an earlier form hep but that is disputed. Many etymologists believe that the terms hip, hep and hepcat derive from the west African Wolof language word hepicat, which means "one who has his eyes open". Some etymologists reject this, however, tracing the origin of this putative etymology to David Dalby, a scholar of African languages who tentatively suggested the idea in the 1960s,
and some have even adopted the denigration "to cry Wolof" as a general dismissal or belittlement of etymologies they believe to be based on "superficial similarities" rather than documented attribution.