Sun 05 Jan 1992

Disc: Hoosier

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. Dennis Baron, hoosier
  2. Herb Stahlke, Hoosier

Message 1: hoosier

Date: Mon, 30 Dec 91 16:03:25 CShoosier
From: Dennis Baron <>
Subject: hoosier

Hoosier, according to the Dictionary of American Regional
English (DARE), v. 2: `a hillbilly or rustic; an unmannerly
or objectionable person.' it is chiefly Southern and South
Midland. The usage label says it is "often derogatory". 1st
cite is from 1831. Used to refer to folks from Connecticut, Tenn,
N Carolina, Kentucky, Louisiana, Arkansas, Georgia, Alabama,
; it is also used by blacks as a pejorative for whites (=honkie);
also: a logger who doesn't know his (sic) trade.

I'm not clear on how the term settled into Indiana and narrowed
to the point where it calls itself the Hoosier State. A 1905
cite lists the Hoosier Mfg. Co. of Newcastle Indiana, maker of
whate came to be called Hoosier Cabinets. The tradename became
a genereic to refer to these kitchen cabinets with built-in
flour bins and sifters and a pullout workshelf (mine had carmel
glass and a lift-up roll top.)
-- ____________ 217-333-2392
 |:~~~~~~~~~~:| fax: 217-333-4321
Dennis Baron |: :|
Dept. of English |: db :|
Univ. of Illinois |: :|
608 S. Wright St. |:==========:|
Urbana IL 61801 \\ """""""" \
 \\ """""""" \
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue

Message 2: Hoosier

Date: Tue, 31 Dec 1991 09:30 ESTHoosier
Subject: Hoosier

As to the source for "hoosier", the best I've heard is that it comes
from the frontier days, when barroom fights got rough and occasionally
resulted in small body parts lying on the floor that someone would
pick up afterwards and ask "whose ear". The rest is sound change:
palatalization, compounding, and laxing. Nothing like folk etymology
made speculative.

Herb Stahlke
Ball State University
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue