Can I use the noun hacker as an adjective?

For example, can I write or say:

It was a hacker trick.

so that it means this:

It was a trick of a hacker.

And can I use

It's hacker code.

so that it means this:

The code has been created by a hacker.

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    Any noun may be used attributively (as an adjective). A shop window; a bathroom door; a cheese sandwich... – St John of the Cross Mar 26 '13 at 13:20
  • @StJohnoftheCross What about the examples? Does it set the teeth on edge? – sergzach Mar 26 '13 at 13:23
  • @StJohnoftheCross I mean does it stay possessive for a 'hacker'? A hacker's word - a word of a hacker? – sergzach Mar 26 '13 at 13:25
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    "It was a hacker trick" and "It's hacker code" both sound fine to me. – Hugo Mar 26 '13 at 13:30
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    @tchrist I mean hacker as an expert of code. – sergzach Mar 26 '13 at 14:24

Both "hacker trick" and "hacker code" are acceptable. Technically, the word doesn't become an adjective. English nouns can act as modifiers (called attributive nouns or noun adjuncts). For more information, check out this tutorial.

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I would prefer using "hack" instead of "trick of a hacker" or a "hacker trick" as the word hack in itself would mean that it is a patch or a clever workaround(in other words a trick).

It was a hack.

And to indicate that its a "hacker's code", use

Its hacky code.


From Wikitionary

Hacky : Using, or characterised by, hacks

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  • And what if I would like to distinguish humanity? E.g. is 'a hacker school' more preferable than 'a hacky school' (as a school of hackers)? – sergzach Mar 26 '13 at 14:13
  • In this particular context, "XYZ is a hack school". – Sayan Mar 26 '13 at 14:16
  • Is it acceptable enough to say 'a hacker school' and 'a hack school'? Is the 'hack school' definitely better or they are equivalent? – sergzach Mar 26 '13 at 14:22
  • I wouldn't go that far to suggest that "hack school" is definitely better than "a hacker school" but certainly they are more or less equivalent and their usage would be dictated by the context they are placed in. – Sayan Mar 28 '13 at 5:36
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    -1. There is a vast difference between a hack (something not quite ideal being used as a workaround for something) and a hacker(’s) trick (a common exploit that hackers take advantage of to gain access to a mainframe, for example). ‘Hacky’ also does not work, since it refers to something that uses hacks, rather than something that is characterised by hackers. Code-hacking is not simply using hacks, it is an entirely different kettle of fish. If there were such a thing as a school where hackers were taught, I’d call it a hacking school or a hacker school—never a hack school. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Aug 11 '13 at 7:49

I work in cyber and have never heard of hacky. It sounds unprofessional and on the level of "script kiddies".

I like hacker trick or hacker code.

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  • This shouldn't be posted as an answer. It's a response to the answer by @KeyBrd Basher. Add it as a comment to that answer. – Henry74 Jul 19 '14 at 8:10

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