Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Townie is a slang term, with several meanings.
Originally it was used by rural people during the 20th century as an insult to urbanites who came into, what they perceived, their land and ruined it through pursuits such as hunting, rambling, and driving. Also, "townie" is thrown at people who move from cities or towns into local villages and are charged with disturbing the tranquility of the original village or hamlet.
Having realised the wealth that townies bring to the countryside, the word is no longer as hostile a description as it once was - however, it is still used to differentiate rural people from city people with the implication that the latter is somehow inferior to the former.
Urban context 1
Townie's have long been referred to by city dwellers as those that are familiar with the centre of a city of large town. From the Pubs to the regular hang-outs that exist within the Central Business District, the term, when used indicates a street wise, fast wit with a liking for beer and possibly a red nose from alcohol consumption. For instance one could say: "He's a right old townie" and mean it with affection. The term has unfortunately taken a different meaning in more recent years although the word 'townie' has been replaced with other variations, see Urban context 2.
Urban context 2
A completely different meaning of the word has developed inside urban environments across the UK from the 1990s. Townies are considered to be lowest group within urban society and are generally considered to be pests and annoyances. Stereotypically, a townie male is someone who sports an up-turned baseball cap, sports clothes, frequently wears white trainers, and usually has a shaven head or short haircut. Townie males particularly can be identifed with large amounts of fake jewellery, Burberry clothing and poor linguistic ability. Townie females are stereotyped as mingers, with vast amounts of make-up, short sluttish clothing, loud, smokers and heavy binge drinkers.
Townies can also be identified by their large numbers around local shops or bus shelters, or in parks or the town/city centre area. They have a liking for garage, hardcore dance and hip-hop music as well as driving modified old cars (eg Vauxhall Novas). Townies are often described by locals as the main cause of social ills such as vandalism, petty theft, and violent crime. A famous satirisation of townies can be found in the comedian Ali G who potrays himself as a sterotypical townie. Traditionally Townies and Goths are opposites, and dislike one another enormously.
Townies are known by a range of different names, which go by regional variations and which can be found in the dictionary entry for "chav".
In communities where colleges or universities are located, the term townie is used to denote a person living in the community who does not attend or work for the college or university. It can be derogatory or complimentary, depending on the location, speaker, and situation. This term is also used in some British university towns, such as Oxford.
The term may be a play off the phrase town and gown - to differentiate people living in town from people who wear academic gowns.
In the Greater Boston, MA area, townie connotes a person born and raised in a given section of Boston, particularly those sections with a reputation for being hostile to new residents or visitors not of the same socio-economic background as the dominant population. While used with some derision by outsiders, residents of these areas consider the term a badge of pride. The high school football team of Charlestown, MA, for instance, is the Charlestown Townies .
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