General Question

YARNLADY's avatar

Why has the word "hack" replaced the work "tip"?

Asked by YARNLADY (44437points) July 19th, 2016

Today I saw three articles: travel hacks, instead of travel tips; cooking hacks, and cleaning hacks

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19 Answers

stanleybmanly's avatar

The internet. Bet that’s where you read it.

marinelife's avatar

Hacking implies an insider, easy way of doing something.

Kardamom's avatar

I’m not sure. I don’t like it, though, because it sounds like something illegal, or like someone is stealing someone else’s stuff. When you call someone a hack, it means you are saying that they are stupid or a jerk, not something positive. I would prefer the word tip to come back.

imrainmaker's avatar

It has to do with use of computer / software in day to day activities.. people are becoming accustomed to words used with reference to it.

SmartAZ's avatar

Because it sounds so much grander. God wants people to be upright, but they always prefer to be grand.

JLeslie's avatar

It hasn’t. Unless, I’m really misunderstanding. Hack means someone who is in the industry, usually a service industry, and has been doing the same thing a long time, and some people associate it with an industry that doesn’t take much skill, but still the person doing it knows the job well.

Like a taxi driver has a “hack’s license” in NYC.

Or, someone can be “hacking around” or “hack around.” Meaning not accomplishing much but spending time doing something anyway.

I guess it’s sort of similar to monger, but hack is probably slang (maybe monger is too? I don’t know) and monger usually refers to selling an item rather than a service.

In your examples it’s like saying cooking pros, but instead of saying pro, the nice word for someone who might be well trained or educated on the subject, they use cooking hacks, which I would take to mean they might be well trained, might not, but they know the topic inside and out by doing.

JLeslie's avatar

I just thought of one other example where the use of the verb, even though in your Q it’s used as a noun) might be familiar: “he couldn’t hack it anymore so he quit.” Hack means “do” in the sentence, but used in a sort of negative tone.

SmartAZ's avatar

“Hack”, the verb, is how you clear a path through a jungle. That is the difference between a jungle and a forest.

“Hack”, the noun, is slang for a taxi.

“Hack”, as a technical term, means a quick, rough action to do something.

A tip is simply a bit of information that you might not have known. But “tip” sounds wimpy and “hack” sounds manly. Like chucking a brush in an electric drill to clean a bathtub.

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LostInParadise's avatar

To me, hack has about it a sense of impropriety, as in hacking into someone’s computer. At the very least, it suggests using something in a way other than was intended.

A tip has about it the sense of refining something that a person already does, like telling someone a trick for improving their golf swing or what to look for when buying produce.

Stinley's avatar

Hack in this context comes from computer hacking, which means illegally accessing a computer usually for illegal purposes such as stealing data or changing it. The hacking part comes from the meaning of chopping away at something until you can get through.

Over time the meaning morphed into computer hacks which are methods of using your computer that are not the recommended method for doing it or using a recommended method to do something completely different. The idea is still that you are chopping away at it to make it into something else.

So now what has happened is that this idea of a hack – making your computer do something that it wasn’t designed to do – has generalised to the point that it now means making your computer do something that it was designed to do but you didn’t know it could do that. Which is actually the definition of a tip/hint. This meaning has spread from referring to computers to a general meaning and, because it is a new word, is more exciting to read and causes more click-throughs than Tip or Hint would.

JLeslie's avatar

Is everyone talking about computers under the age of 30? I’m just wondering if my age is showing? Or, if it’s a northeast thing to use hack as I described.

LostInParadise's avatar

@Stinley , I still think there may be a difference in connotation between the two words, even though their denotations are the same.

jca's avatar

For government workers, a hack is an appointee (appointed by someone high up) who does not do much work and may not know much, but is placed there and is relatively untouchable, as he is protected by the person high up.

SmartAZ's avatar

I just discovered that google offers TWENTY definitions for ‘hack’.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Stinley Yes, I think that’s it, using something in a manner that is different from it’s intended use.

Stinley's avatar

@JLeslie I did know your definitions, although the taxi meaning comes from Hackney cab, which I presume comes from the area of east London of that name. Using hack to mean a tip or hint has the etymology that I describe.

Hack is a word with a lot of meanings. A hack can also mean a gentle horse ride and also the horse itself.

JLeslie's avatar

@Stinley Interesting. I hadn’t put it together. That makes sense. The old taxi cabs in NYC resembled the cabs that were tall and rounded corners. Is that it? I think the word evolved though in NY/US regarding taxi drivers to be derogatory and in other industries too.

America is just full of words that came over from the old country and evolved. There is an entertaining show called America’s Sectet Slang that goes through a lot of them. There aren’t many episodes if you, or anyone is interested.

ragingloli's avatar

a “tip” implies just a clever way to do something.
a “hack” implies that you are circumventing, breaking and conquering reality itself.

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