The Hoosier State

Indiana State Nickname


Bale of hay

Photo courtesy USDA NRCS Image Gallery: Grassland.

The Hoosier State

The official nickname of Indiana is The Hoosier State. The origin of the word Hoosier is rooted deep in the history of Indiana and the original meaning is not certain. Historians, folklorists, politicians, and everyday Hoosiers offer many colorful theories on the origin of the term, but no one has a definitive answer.

Meaning of "Hoosier" according to Laura Winchell Guy (born 1882)

by reader C. Addleman (5/3/2014):

I am 54 (born 1960) and this is the story I was told by my 91-year-old mother, as it was told to her by her mother:

"Indiana homesteaders of the early years were much more casual and less formal than the eastern proper city folk. Rather than going to the door to greet a caller, they kept doing whatever they were doing and loudly yelled; Who's there?

Apparently the person at the door heard this as a friendly welcome and invitation to come on in. It became a funny colloquial slur of the two words (who's there?) spoken as if something was clamped in their front teeth (a man's pipe or a woman with a sewing needle held in her mouth). Try holding something with your front teeth or lips and say Who's there? loudly to a person outside the front door and they will hear what sounds like Hoosier."

The quote is from my mother BJ Guy Addleman (born 1923) as it was told to her by her mother Laura Winchell Guy (born 1882). That's my story from the 1800's generation. I think it's as close to fact as it can get.



Lake Michigan shoreline in Michigan City, Indiana; photo by Tom Gill (lapstrake) on Flickr (noncommercial use permitted with attribution / no derivative works).
Lake Michigan Indiana

State of Indiana USA (public domain image)

State of Indiana USA