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Commonly, it refers to one of three things: music, lifestyle, and fashion, though it is not seen as proper to designate one's self as goth based purely on their manner of dress, and most goths do not publicly proclaim themselves as such anyway. The gothic subculture tends to have a poor reputation because so many of the people who choose to label themselves as such know nothing about the culture, and involve themselves in juvenille or melodramatic behavior that they feel "is goth".

Musically, it refers to an alternate form of rock that first developed in the late 70's as a post-punk form of music. This early, guitar driven form of goth is commonly called "death rock". The guitars often serve as an ambient rather than melodic instrument, drumming tends to be dance oriented and the vocals are often somewhat haunting or distant. Lyrics deal heavily with introspection, nilhilism and the occult, though most assume it deals strictly with satanism. Many gothic bands mix industrial elements into their music, leading some to believe that all industrial music is gothic. Common bands associatdd with the term include The Cure, Bahaus, 45 Grave, Sisters of Mercy, Joy Division, etc.

Lifestyle-wise, there doesn't appear to be a lifestyle that all gothics follow, though some seem to share similar characteristics, which can include an interest in occultist themes, poetry, religion, introspection, gothic literature (which was written some time during the Victorian Era), folklore, etc. Most gothics are known for regularly attending dance clubs that play gothic and industrial music, and some are also known for their interest in the S&M culture.

Fashion-wise, there tends to be a lot of accessories, and the most common of which are victorian/medieval inspired (velvet and lace, pirate shirts, corsets, etc.), bondage inspired (slave bracelets, chokers, large boots, fishnet and mesh clothing, clothing made out of PVC, leather, rubber, latex or vinyl), or punk inspired (bondage pants, leather jackets, spiked or studded jewelry). Gothics have a tenendency to wear mostly black, though sometimes white or red, and have their hair dyed, usually purple or jet black (the hair is also stylized in a certain fashion, usually mushroomed out like Robert Smith of The Cutre, dreadlocked, or black with bangs like Emily (the mascot for a line of products of the same name), or other similar, outlandish designs. There is also a tendency for theatrical-style make-up (white foundation with black emphasis around the eyes and sometimes mouth). Goth fashion is sometimes mistaken for the on-stage presence of black metal groups.
Many think that bands such as Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails are goth rock bands, but they're really just commercialized industrial music.
by Goatlord December 26, 2003
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On urbandictionary.com, a word with a lot of really, reeeeeeeeealy long definitions.
I'm sure more people would understand the term goth if the definitions weren't as long a friggin' book.
by Squeed August 31, 2005
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GENERAL GOTH:
TRUE: A Goth is someone who is usually into the darker side of the world. Where punk is mostly about government, freedom, and politics, Goth is mostly about religion(theology), philosophy, and mysticism. A true Goth is not a depressed suicidal person. They are deep into thought and feeling, know who they are. A goth, not Gothic, or Gothics (that's socially incorrect, it really pisses them off, at least the real ones, not the poseurs), generally do not worship Satan, although you can be a Goth and of any religion, many are Christian, and I know a few that are Catholic. Goths likes to be individual and often creates or modify's their clothing. Usually consisting of mainly black. Spikes are usualy not a goth thing. Tribal designs and religios related jewlry are common, such as crucifixes and pentagrams. Most are very intelligent and creative, and dont necissarily do drugs, think about murder, cut themselves, or sacrifice animals, and again with the worship Satan thing. Although many of them are pagan or wiccan.
If someone "becomes a Goth" because they couldn't get any friends or are depressed and angry all the time, they are most likely a poseur, actually just take out the whole most likely part. You are who you are because it is who you are, not because of the things that make you a poseur. The music a Goth may listen to can range to almost anything. Usually it consists of Gothic( ex. London After Midnight), Goth rock (69 Eyes) , metal(Slayer), electronic industrial (Zeromancer), industrial (Marylin Manson, Rammstien) , electro, techno (Infectid Mushroom, Chemical Brothers), even some punk, horrorpunk.But some goths even listen to classical music, and I dont mean classic rock, I mean classical like Beethoven and Mozart. All and all, goths are very open minded, they dont hold anything against people they dont know. They dont care what your religion is, or what your sexuality is, or wether you like them or not. Goths, like punks, do not lable themselfs.

OTHER FORMS OF GOTH:
TRUE: Many other subforms of goth exist, but unlike how the punk generas are rather similar and your eather punk or not, the subforms of goth are derasticaly different and may need some definition.

VICTORIAN GOTH: A victorian goth is someone you might see in a vampire movie. For example Interview With A Vampire, Dracula (not 2000 but the older ones). Dress in the Victorian Renesauns styal, like a duke, or a count. Think velvet and lace. mmmm.

VAMPIRE GOTH: Same as Victorian Goth, just often wear false fangs, wear a fang shaped glass pendent on their neck with liquid that looks like, or may be blood. May drink their partners blood. Also very deep into vampire fiction and culture.

CYBER GOTH: Love plastic, and ::eyes wide open:: bright colors. May wear plastic spikes, plastic clothing (not vinal thats different, in a way even though its plastic) and have bright clored hair or wear a plastic wig. Often wear goggles too, such as the ones Vin Desal wears in Pitch Black, and The Chronicals of Riddic. They didnt get this from those movies, most likely the producers of the movie got it from the cyber goth culture. Cyber goths go to clubs offten, and are really into the future, and futuristic sceans.

Sence we are attempting to define what Goth is, why dont we describe what it isnt as well. What is a Poseur, yes that is the correct spelling, not "poser".

POSEUR:
TRUE: Looks like a punk or a Goth, but does it for fashion. They don't have the heart, or the soul of the culture they are pretending to be part of. May listen to punk, metal, industrial, gothic, Goth rock, techno, electro, etc. , but also listens to crap like listed under the FALSE punk section of my definition for punk. A poseur may also attempt to call a band, like Blink 182 for example, hard core, or hardcore punk. A) those bands arnt punk, B) hardcore, and hardcore punk are an entierly different subgeneras of music. Just like emo is a pathetic subgenera of poseur punk, or pop punk. A Poseur may also say and do things because they are trendy, or because they see and hear other poseurs and punks/goths, and people in bands say them and do them. This is another thing that makes them fake. Also, this isnt 100% always true, but many times every article of a poseur's clothing may come from Hottopic.

FOR YOUR REFERENCE: you can apply all the things above to gothic subculture, or any other culture or subculture in the world, just change the criteria. Inevitably, a poseur is just a wannabe, no one likes wannabes.

IF ALL OF YOUR CLOTHING COMES FROM HOTTOPIC, OR ARE TRIPP NYC BRAND OR SOMETHING OF THAT NATURE, YOU ARE NOT PUNK NOR ARE YOU A GOTH. YOUR NOT NECISSARILY A POSEUR EATHER. YOUR JUST SUCKER.

You may also want to see my definition for punk.
Eric Draven (Brandan Lee R.I.P.) in The Crow, was definatly a goth befor he died and became the crow.

London After Midnight and 69 Eyes are great gothic/goth rock bands.

The tital of the movie "Gothica" is pointless, it has nothing to do with the movie, and has nothing to do with gothic subculture.
by Ice Cold Anarchy January 09, 2006
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Culture devoloped from punk in 1979. Sterotype wears black clothes, nail polish, eyeliner and has black hair and listens to the very un-goth Marilyn Manson.
Many types of goth. Examples:

CYBER GOTH
Loves plastic, nightclubs and the future. Loves (gasp!) bright colors and usually has plastic hair.

VAMPIRE GOTH:
Often Satanic. Sucks blood from partner and has sex in coffins.

ROMANTIC GOTH:
Very elegant. Wears lots of velvet and lace. Aims for Medieval/Victorian look. Loves vampires and poetry.

POSER GOTH:
Listens to Marilyn Manson. Wears only black. Is a right saddo.

Goth music: Bauhaus, The Cure, Switchblade Synphony, etc. MARILYN MANSON AND LINKIN PARK ARE NOT GOTH MUSIC.

Remember, GOTH is just a label made up by a bunch of losers to call the darker ones.. Real 'goths' do not label themselves. A self-proclaimed goth = big poser. Gothic stereotype = morbid, suicidal and black-clad. Not always true. You could dress like PARIS HILTON and still be part of the 'goth' scene.
'That dress is so 'gothic!' (Phrase often used by preps when entering poser clothing store Hot Topic.

'I'm not a goth.' said Lulu.
by Sarah February 21, 2005
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Goths do not and have NEVER liked metal of any kind. Metal fans who call themselves Goth are wannabes. Perioid. Goth generally ONLY listen to Gothic music which sounds NOTHING like metal. Goths hate metalheads and Goths hate emo kids. 96% of the people who use the word Goth have NO IDEA what it means.
Goths think metal fans are white trash.
by antimetalsupergoth May 30, 2009
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As a subculture: Goths are people who are obviously unique or different. Most choose to dress in black or darker colors showing what they feel for in life. Not like what alot of people say, Goths don't always wear black since they wear bright colors too. Also, not many Goths do suicide since that is stereo-typing. If you actually think about it, more Preps kill themsleves due to stress and pressure. Anyway, Goths are usually the ones who don't speak much, dyes their hair in strange colors, shows mostly dark, creative artwork, and such. They're not limelight hungry, they people who say they are, probbaly are. Goths are different, but that doesn't mean that they aren't human. To say, for whichever's better or worse, Goths are anything, but ordinary. It's not a crime to be beautiful, but it is one to take beauty away from others.
Prep->OmfG!! That Goth is so tacky. Like, just look at her clothes!
Goth->What'd you say?
Prep->Like you didn't hear me? I sai-
Goth->Fucking bitch. (straight-on punch to the face)
Prep->(falls down)omg..my make-up is ruined!!
Goth->As if I'd care..(walks off)
by KittizxKatz December 21, 2004
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I have a lot of friends who follow the Goth subculture. Yes, Goths mainly dress themselves in black and possibly some black nail varnish and listening to metal tunes and such, but saying that all of them are drug-addicted, suicidal satanists is a pathetic generalisation. Not all Goths are like that, in fact i haven't met one of them with that kind of lifestyle. And even if they are, its their choice, and they don't deserve the hassle they get from close-minded idiots.
Leave Goths alone. Its their choice what to do with their life. You wouldn't like it if someone insulted and beated on you due to your lieftyle, would you?
by BadLieutenant August 13, 2004
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