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What's A Hoosier?

That's the question most asked by Indiana visitors. No one seems to know exactly where the word "Hoosier" (hoo-zhur) came from but there are plenty of stories on its origin-30 at last count. Here are some of the more popular theories:

Early pioneers used to answer knocks on their cabin door by saying "Who's yere?" This greeting became the nickname for Indiana residents.

Indiana settlers were well known for their ability to hush anyone who did not agree with them. This was generally done with fists instead of with debates. The settlers were called "Hushers." With a southern Indiana drawl, "Hushers" is pronounced like "Hoosiers."

Kentucky contractor Samuel Hoosier hired Indiana workers to build the Portland canal at Louisville. These superior laborers became known as "Hoosier's men" or Hoosiers and carried the nickname back north with them. Unfortunately, no one has ever been able to prove the existence of Mr. Hoosier.

Today the word is used to denote an Indiana native or resident. Although the origin is uncertain, one thing is clear about the word "Hoosier" and Hospitality they go hand in hand.

Famous Hooisers With Indianapolis Connections

Larry Bird, Former Coach of the Indiana Pacers
David Letterman, late night talk show host
Jane Pauley, news anchor
Oscar Robinson, basketball great
Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, Grammy-winning songwriter
James Whitcomb Riley, poet
Wilma Rudolph, Olympic gold medalist
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., novelist
Dan Wakefield, novelist
Michael Graves, architect

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