Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Redneck and Hillbilly

Redneck vs Hillbilly

The English language is full of slang and terms that originally meant one thing and changes their meanings as time passes. Two such words are “redneck” and “hillbilly.” The original meanings of these two words are different from how they are being used in the English language today.
Both are being used to refer to people who are rough or have characteristics that are less desirable and whose attitude and demeanor are unpleasant and repulsive to others. They can mean other things too which can be positive rather than negative.
“Redneck” is defined as an offensive slang used to refer to any member of the white rural labor class who reside in the Southern United States. The term stems from the sunburned necks of white men who labor under the heat of the sun with the dust of the red earth clinging to their sweaty necks.
In time it came to refer to people who go against the usual flow of things and events and is used by Southerners to identify them as different from others. It connotes independence and being pro-labor and anti-establishment. It can refer to a person with a conservative view but can be racist.
“Hillbilly,” on the other hand, is defined as a disparaging word for a person without any sophistication who lives in a remote mountain area. It is used to refer to people who are socially backward; one who doesn’t care about how he looks and how he lives.
The term comes from the Scottish expressions “hilly-folk” and “billie” which mean “guy” or “fellow.” The Appalachian region’s early inhabitants were originally from the lowlands of Scotland. “Hillbilly” is a person who lives a life that is cut off from the modern world. He lives off what he can get from the land and his surroundings which are the mountains and forests.
A redneck can either live in a rural area or the city but chooses to live his life in an easy-go-lucky way. He is a few paces up on the ladder over a hillbilly. Both terms have negative meanings and connotations, but then “redneck” has a positive side to it.

1.A redneck is a person who belongs to the white rural labor class who lives in the Southern United States while a hillbilly is a person who lives in a remote mountain area.
2.Both terms have derogatory connotations referring to people who have no sophistication and who are undesirable characters, but a redneck is better than a hillbilly.
3.The term “redneck” comes from the sunburned necks of Southern white men who labor under the sun with the dust sticking to their sweaty necks while the term “hillbilly” comes from the Scottish expressions “hilly-folk” and “billie” which mean “fellow.”
4.A hillbilly usually lives in a world that is cut off from the modern world while a redneck can live in a remote area or the city, but his way and view of life is the same with bigotry and narrow mindedness.

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  1. Sorry, but you folks are wrong on this one! Come to the deep south and I shall be happy to show you what a real redneck is!!!! It is NOT pretty!!!

    • Amen to that, I read this and thought, this must of been written by some city folk,
      Their description is written for about 80 years ago,
      I think it’s time for an update.

      ~Amie-Belle Grace-Anne Anderson

  2. I live in the Ozarks foothills and am all hillbilly. I’m also smarter and more educated than the person who probably got paid a lot to write this garbage. Hillbilly is a lifestyle and also a state of mind. Next summer, I think I’ll give my chickens a rest and just spread this guys writing on my garden.

    • Do you live off the grid? Would you ever write about how hillbilly I’d imagine are far more resourceful being loners and I’m guessing self reliant being is remote locations Is my guess is your busy people I’d love to here you definition of this lable you identify with.

  3. i dont really believe this but thinking about the differences i see hillbillies as those guys sitting on a rocking chair and drinking moonshine outside in the mountains and rednecks as those guys living in the woods hunting all kinds of animals
    thats not what i believe is the difference its just what i pictured 🙂

  4. Actually, the term “Redneck” came from the early 1900’s in WV, during the coal wars. The coal company was trying to keep the workers from joining the union and forcing the coal workers to use their money in the company stores. When the “war” broke out, thousands of union coal workers from northern WV marched, took trains and any other form of transportation to southern WV to help out the coal workers against the company. Those coal workers wore red bandannas so that they would be recognized as the good guys and thus the word “Redneck” was born. It didn’t become slang until much later. Most people that call a person from the country a Redneck, do not know the meaning, including the author of this article. Redneck to those of us that are Redneck has a proud beginning and continues to show the difference between people who work hard on the land, and can take care of themselves, unlike the city folk who think they are talking down to us.

  5. Not even close. There are many kinds of people in the city, mountains, and farm country. Not every one is a stereotype. Some hillbillies are god loving conservative no nonsense people. Yes there are the Drunks and other less desirable people. But labels are like saying city people are selfish back stabbing individuals. We all know that’s a lie. Its also judging unrighteous. Think before you judge.

    • Man, thank you. I come from North East Texas. Most of my family is from Arkansas. Hillbillies and Rednecks, the lot of us; but it’s just a way and rhythm of life. Of course like you said, we all get our undesirables. I think most of us who proudly observe our culture fight as hard as anyone to rid our ranks of those who earn us the reputation of being backwards and bigoted. I think we can appreciate the way of life passed down to us, without being held prisoner by the stigmas and ignorance of the past. I vote for understanding and cooperation all round.

  6. The miners were marching in 1921, protesting against bad working conditions and low pay (scrip instead of money), when they got to Blair Mountain they were ambushed by company goons. In the dense woods, the miners wore red bandanas to tell them from the goons.

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