Why Are People From Indiana Called Hoosiers and How Did They Get the Nickname?

No one knows for sure why people from Indiana called Hoosiers.

The term has been in use since at least the 1830s, but there are lots of amusing theories.

For example, early pioneers in the state supposedly answered a knock on the door by saying, “Who’s yere?”

Then there’s the theory that the name came from rivermen who were good at beating up, or “hushing,” their enemies, earning them the name of “hushers.”

Another says that a canal contractor named Hoosier liked hiring laborers from Indiana, who became known as “Hoosier’s men,” or just plain Hoosiers.

Another possibility is that “hoosier” was commonly used in the South in the 1800s to refer to people who lived in the hills.

Many people from Cumberland, England, immigrated to America and settled in the mountains of the southeastern United States. In the dialect of the people living around Cumberland in those days, a “hoo” meant high or hill, and “hoozer” meant anything unusually large.

When the descendants of these early settlers moved to Indiana, they may have brought the name with them.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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