The word "Hustle" and "Hustler" can be viewed either negatively or positively given the situation in which the terms are used, and this is related to the infinitive "to hustle". When the connotations are positive, the term means achieving things and getting tasks done quickly, and having drive and ambition. When the connotations are negative, the term could imply disreputability, dishonesty, corruption, and even criminal activities such as illegal operations, exploiting people, prostitution and human trafficking.
The infinitive "to hustle" derives from the Dutch "to shake", or "husselen", and in the first instance is related to anything that is quick and jostling about or rushing, and in the human sense often without care. For example, is one hustles somewhere it means that they are travelling quickly, though also in a rushed and jostling manner which means they are taking effort and the trip is proving difficult. Another much more benign definition is related to sports or work and achievement, where the word is to do with the release energy as a positive notion. So describing someone as a "hustler" or a situation as a "good hustle" is positively reflecting on quick, effective, and praiseworthy actions. Someone who is bent on ambition can be described as a "hustler".
The definitions that are positive, and which can be used in a positive way, are numerous, but like many other modern colloquial terms that have developed in modern times, there are plenty of negative meaning and connotations as well. The term "hustler" can describe someone who does not play by the rules when it comes to business and enterprise, and someone who is an opportunist who deceives people to have things their way or to make money. The term stays with people who rise to dominance, and also those who stay as little more than a petty con artist who fools their targets. In general, dishonest and decadent lifestyles which involve illicit activities of any kind are also implied by the term.
The 1961 film The Hustler explores the negative concept of hustling vividly, and the film stars Paul Newman whose character, "Fast" Eddie Felson is a pool player who ends up dealing with a world of criminality and ends up in a great deal of trouble. Other examples of the word are available, such as "Charlie Hustle", who was the famous baseball player Pete Rose. He coined the term for having a very fast and aggressive playing style, which helped to lead many of his teams to victory. Interestingly in his later life, which was marked with dodgy dealing, gambling, and associating himself with questionable people, his original nick-name took on a double meaning.
In business, "hustler" can have positive and negative meanings depending on the situation and the person involved, and a specific meaning implies prostitution, whereby the prostitute hustles to make money walking the streets. It also can be used as a term to denote promotion on the street, face to face with real people, though its most negative definition can be associated the pornographic magazine "Hustler". While not everyone would agree, the fact that the magazine's title is clearly deriving from the term it applies for prostitution can be seen as negative, and has helped to bring the negative connotations of the word into the public consciousness.
From what has been discussed, it is clear that the word "hustler" is full of different yet equally inherent meanings, and is very ambiguous unless given context. On its own the word remains neutral, and the use of the word will be positive or negative depending on the situation. It can be used to appraise good work and the ambitious drive of certain people in business and in general, while it can also to mean shadier things, such as dishonesty and deception within the same setting, or in another unrelated setting. The modern world understands the sexual meanings of the word, which have been the most recent connotations to surface. Due to the wide number of meanings that the word has, it is advisable to be careful in its usage, such as adhering to the context you are in, so that offense is not caused.
Anonymous. "Hustle - definition of hustle." The Free Dictionary. 2 October 2005. https://www.thefreedictionary.com/hustle.
"Definition of hustle." WordReference.com. 2 October 2005. https://www.wordreference.com/definition/hustler
"Hustle." Online Etymology Dictionary. 2 October 2005. https://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=hustler&searchmode=none
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Con Artists, and What They Do
- Length: 818 words (2.3 double-spaced pages)
- Rating: Excellent
The world we live in today requires us to be good at whatever career we choose or we are not able to support ourselves. In order to be the best we can be, we usually work hard, practice our chosen field, and put forth all effort needed to make us good at what we do. There are many ways we can choose to support ourselves. Careers are varied and we have many jobs to choose from. With so many opportunities open to people today, it should be easy to select a career that gives you an honest living. We all want to trust others and hope that people are honest. This, wanting to trust, is what some people use in their chosen careers. People who use others in order to gain an income are known as con artists. To con people means to swindle, or cheat, them and being an artist means that one is very skilled at what he does so a con artist is very much capable of cheating others to make a profit.
Con artists are everywhere. They seem to sense when other are vulnerable, such as older people. Our elderly come from a time when people believed others. They truth their neighbors and friends. If they say they will do something, they mean they will do it. Our elderly are simply too trusting. It is hard for them to look another person in the eye and lie. It is hard for them to take something that does not belong to them. Unfortunately, the con artist does not have a problem with either lying to people or stealing from them. He has his chosen profession down to the art he has practiced. He is good at what he does because he works at being good at it. The con artist is an actor. He should win an Oscar for his performances. He is able to change personalities like a chameleon changes colors. The con artist can be anything he needs to be for whatever “job” he is working on at the time. He usually is a very likable person who is able to blend in with others on any occasion or any given situation. Sadly, if these swindlers had chosen to work an honest job, they probably would have been very good at what they did. It requires more planning and convincing to rip people off than it takes to work at a legitimate career.
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Artists People Today Select Performances Blend Actor Neighbors Careers Chosen Older
This is not taking the easy way out because one is forever looking over his shoulder to see if he has been exposed. He can never fully relax because he has to be alert at all times. So, what makes a con artist think he is making an easy living? It takes all different types of people to make our world what it is. The con artist are just one type.
There are many ways we can be taken advantage of. We all allow people to enter our homes on the pretense of demonstrating products. They sit there and look everything over and mentally plan how to come back when we are not home so they can rob us. We may be talked into taking trips we did not plan to take, we may be sold things we do not want, or we may invest in “sure-fire deals” that later fold when someone runs off with the investment money. Con artists offer to roof our houses, pave out driveways, put siding on our homes so we will not have to paint anymore, and even spray our house to keep it from deteriorating any worse than it is. Con artist sell books so our 2 year-old children can use them to make it easier on them when they are in college. We have people that are working on new computer programs and they are more than willing to let us invest in it. There are calls on the phone selling everything from luxury resorts to burial plots. These people make us feel guilty for hanging up on them. They certainly have the skills needed for their chosen profession.
To con people means to swindle, or cheat, them and being an artist means that one is very skilled at what he does so a con artist is very much capable of cheating others to make a profit. We know there are dishonest people in our society today who are trying to cheat us out of our money. This is their way of making a living. This is what they do. This is what they do best. It is up to us to quit being so trusting. As bad as it seems, we have to learn to question even what seems normal. It is sad that we have come to this point, but the con artists are out there waiting for us to let our guard down and open our door for them.