Groovy: One Word, Total Grooviness

When you hear the word, “Groovy”, what image comes to mind?  If you are like many Americans, groovy conjures up flashes of flower power, smiley faces, peace signs, bell bottoms, mini-skirts and go-go boots.  Others may think about the excitement surrounding the space program and the Apollo missions—a time where science and technology became part of pop culture. Groovy: One Word, Total Grooviness

Whichever image pops in your mind when you hear the word ‘groovy’, the way it makes you feel is most important – and why we choose to call our product, Groovy Lab in a Box.  We designed our retro-style box to evoke excitement in your STEMists. Because children are natural engineers, Groovy Lab in a Box blends Scientific Inquiry and the Engineering Design Process, which allows children to create ingenious inventions, enhance critical problem solving skills, and have FUN. We want modern-day STEMists to be just as excited about science as children were during the Apollo Era.

Defining Groovy

A term that means tubular, excellence, awesome and cool, Groovy is considered a slang colloquialism— a word, phrase or other form used in informal language. Although the term in its original usage has largely vanished from everyday use, it has not disappeared from our language entirely.

Groovy derives from the word, “groove,” which was originally defined as a mining shaft or pit. According to the Word Detective, though, “groove” took on a new meaning by 1902. “Groove” was being used to mean the spiral track on the surface of a phonograph record in which the needle rides.

By the 1960’s and early 70’s, “groovy” took on its more modern-day definition of being something awesome. An example of ‘groovy’ in use may have looked like this:

Girl 1: Groovy outfit, Susie!

Girl 2: Did you catch Jimmy’s groovy hairstyle in school today?

Groovey During The Jazz Era

Although in today’s society, “groovy” is more commonly associated with the late 1960s and early 1970s era, “groovy” emerged on the scene more than 30 years earlier in the jazz subculture. According to American Speech (1937), the term, “‘Groovey,’ applied to state of mind that is conducive to good playing.”  In the 1930’s, “groovey” included an ‘e’ before the ‘y’ in its spelling.  ‘Groovey’ was a word typically used by jazz musicians when referring to their music as effortless, smooth and being “in the groove.” In other words, the musicians were producing the music as easily, fluently and flawlessly as a phonograph needle following the grooves on a record.

First Recorded Uses of Groovy

The first recorded use of “groovy” in its slang context goes back to September 30, 1941, on the Fibber McGee and Molly radio show, when band leader Billy Mills used it to describe his summer vacation. Then, in the 1942 film Miss Annie Rooney, a teenage Shirley Temple uses the term as she impresses Dickie Moore with her jitterbug moves.

In the 1945 film Miracle on 34th Street, “groovey” was included in film advertising.

Moving into the 1960s, “groovey” could be found on Simon & Garfunkel’s original record cover of the 1965 release of the single “The Sound of Silence” with “We’ve Got a Groovey Thing Goin’ ” on its flipside.  The following year, another Simon & Garfunkel hit kept “groovy” in the mainstream, “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy).”

Now that you know the skinny on the term “Groovy,” consider getting your STEMists groove on with Groovy Lab in a Box. Our monthly-themed boxes will bring out the grooviness in every STEMist!