Colloquialism; Shortening of independent

Neosensical word, in terms of capturing the entire culture surrounding the word

General Denotation: adj. not depending on another’s authority, in the cases of music and art, created by someone without a tie to a large scale company or major label; colloquial

A non-major record label or film producer, an underground band or artist, etc.

Etymology: First uses of indie for independent was seen in the 1920-40’s, used in reference to film production. The word and adjective independent comes from the French word “indépendant” in the early 17th century, with the same meaning (not dependent on the authority of another). Use of the word indie decreased but then spiked in recent decades.

Sociolectal Information: The word indie refers broadly to a new age culture and fashion, and a genre of typically music or video games, where there is not a major label or company name on the product. It usually refers casually to free-flowing attitudes, and underground/not-well-known creators. Could also be related to the word hipster. It can be used to describe certain (but not limited to) categories of film, music, fashion, art, culture, and a person’s attitude. It is an all encompassing word for a culture that most teens and young adults identity with in at least some subcategory, and appreciation for the term is growing with the growth of the genre, hence the relatively recent spike in usage.

Survival Predictions: I think it will survive, because the word indie describes an up and coming, prevalent genre of music, art, and technology. It is a section of the arts that is relatively broad and growing daily. I think the word will only evolve to include an even broader sense of the culture that already exists, but the sense of “independent” or without a major label, will change. I think that even know the sense has changed to something that “sounds indie” but might not be by definition of authority.

Lexopinions: At William and Mary, the word indie is not usually used in conversation in everyday life, but it is a word that many teenagers and young adults recognize. The music genre and fashion aspect of indie culture are the ones most seen in the students of the College.




  1. How do you think this word will evolve? It seems like this word has changed so much so quickly– it would be interesting to see how broad the term spans in a few years.

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