Here’s a new vocab word for you: demonym, a word that identifies residents of a particular place. For us, it’s “Hoosiers,” but where did that name come from?
The history is actually pretty muddled. Nobody seems to know exactly when the name was invented — only that it entered the general lexicon after Richmond resident John Finley published a popular poem titled “The Hoosier’s Nest” in 1833.
Since then, scholars and news sources have suggested several origins, including:
- Census workers calling “Who’s here?” at the doors of Indiana homes — or frontier settlers calling out to strangers on their property
- A reference to Methodist minister Rev. Harry Hosier
- Derived from the French words for “redness” or “red-faced”
- A reference to Colonel Abraham Stover, who said, “Ain’t I a husher,” after beating several men in a fight
Whatever the origin, given its official recognition by the US Government Publishing Office, our Hoosier demonym isn’t going anywhere soon.