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Hoosier
Posted: 03 August 2008 10:06 AM   [ Ignore ]
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An entertaining stroll through some of the many and varied theories concerning the origin by Jeffrey Graf, a reference librarian at the Herman B. Wells Library, Indiana University - Bloomington.

The Word Hoosier

Take with a huge pinch of salt his own theory though.

As for the word itself, it probably derives from the Saxon word “hoo” meaning promontory or cliff or ridge or rise or hill. Jacob Dunn, a diligent scholar of the word, believes a Saxon beginning, and such a meaning survives in various place names in England. There is some sense in the notion, too, that those who applied the insult and those to whom it was applied (and who understood it) came primarily from British stock.

The word ‘probably’ is completely inappropriate in that first sentence. That apart though, he does go into exhaustive and well-annotated detail on the word’s usage and history. Interesting stuff.

Also, of course, on Dave’s Big List.. Dave gives a clearly attested 1831 cite and one from 1827, the accuracy of which is in doubt. Both predate the 1833 cite on the webpage above.

OED (which gives ‘unknown’ for the etymology) has an even earlier cite than those above, but I’m a little puzzled by it.

1826 in Chicago Tribune (1949) 2 June 20/3 The Indiana hoosiers that came out last fall is settled from 2 to 4 milds of us.

What exactly does that mean? That the cite appears in a 1949 Chicago Tribune and is attributed to 1826?

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Posted: 03 August 2008 10:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Discussion on “Hoosier” in our Archives http://wordoriginsorg.yuku.com/search/text/?q=hoosier&submit=Search+All

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Posted: 03 August 2008 11:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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What exactly does that mean? That the cite appears in a 1949 Chicago Tribune and is attributed to 1826?

Presumably, and that seems problematic: why would you trust a sentence that a daily paper claims dates back to over a century earlier?  I’m guessing it was a quote from a letter or diary relevant to whatever the story was about, but who knows if it was transcribed accurately, dated accurately, or even made up?  I too am puzzled.

And yes, the hoo thing sounds kind of silly.

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Posted: 03 August 2008 12:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Apparently “Hoosier” is very sparsely recorded before 1833.

The “Who’s here” etymology appeared in print very early: I find it in a newspaper item from September 1833. (That don’t make it true.)

Anatoly Liberman has blogged on the subject recently --

http://blog.oup.com/2008/07/hoosier/

-- and he seems to like a derivation from a family name “Hooser”. (That don’t make it true.)

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Posted: 03 August 2008 01:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Can anyone remember whether it was Kurt Vonnegut who said something along the lines that if you wrote an article about the origin of the word, you would receive hundreds of angry letters, all giving their own differing versions of the origin and all calling you an idiot? I think it was, and his wording made it funnier than my paraphrase.

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Posted: 03 August 2008 06:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I concur with the idea that it’s a letter, diary, or similar document ostensibly from 1826 as reported in the Chicago Tribune in 1949.  While acknowledging once again (especially in case murrmac is lurking) that the OED editors are fallible, they do typically bring a healthy skepticism to secondary sources and if they included this citation it means they thought it was credible.

The Tribune’s online archive confirms that the word “hoosiers” appeared in the June 2, 1949 issue, on page “N20”; that’s about as much information as one can get without paying for a copy of the article.  See here, if this link works.  Its not so much the $4 as the time and hassle involved in setting up an account with them, typing in my credit card information, and so forth, that keeps me from buying a copy.  And also it’s the $4 (I was up on an extension ladder today in 100+ degree heat using a borrowed powerwasher to remove the mildew from our siding, until I collapsed from heat exhaustion [after I’d come down off the ladder, fortunately] because I’m too cheap--er, thrifty--to pay somebody to do it.)

[ObviousMan mode] I presume “milds” in the citation is an error (presumably in the original, or at least so quoted in the Tribune) for “miles”.[/ObviousMan mode]

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Posted: 04 August 2008 01:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Bit off topic - Dr T, what is a siding? In the UK its an extra bit of track for storing spare trains but I’m assuming you don’t have one of those . . .

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Posted: 04 August 2008 02:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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We use ‘siding’ for the bit of track off to the side in the US, too.  The siding Dr. T. is talking about is a shell, often alumin(i)um, covering the sides of the house.  Here’s Wikipedia on the subject.

Edit: typo

[ Edited: 04 August 2008 04:57 PM by Faldage ]
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Posted: 04 August 2008 03:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Thanks Faldage

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Posted: 04 August 2008 06:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Is siding not used in the UK, or is it called something different?

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Posted: 04 August 2008 06:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I’d not come across it - hence the query - but I may just have missed it. I think the most commonly understood UK term for it would be ‘cladding’ usually modified by whatever the cladding is ie: stone cladding or wood cladding. Weatherboarding would be understood and is, I think, a reasonably common UK term. I tend to think of ‘shingles’ as wooden tiles that go on American roofs (I’m sure I’m wrong about that though). If I was talking about a wall clad with tiles or shingles I’d call it tile-hung, or, as its most usually done with slate in my neck of the woods - slate-hung.

Aluminium cladding is unusual on residential buildings in the UK, but extruded UPVC boards made to look like wood are common.

[ Edited: 04 August 2008 06:50 AM by flynn999 ]
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Posted: 04 August 2008 10:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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I learned the American use of siding (aluminum) from the movie Tin Men.

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Posted: 04 August 2008 12:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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languagehat - 04 August 2008 06:25 AM

Is siding not used in the UK, or is it called something different?

It was interesting to read the Wikipedia article and realise that “siding” is not just cladding, but is the whole outer skin (or leaf) of the wall.  Masonry and render siding have a long history in the UK.  Many 18th century houses are built with a timber frame internally and a brick skin externally.  They look like brick houses until they catch fire, and then they burn to the ground.  In some the “bricks” aren’t even bricks, but tiles shaped to look like bricks and pointed up, called “mathematical tiles”, but I digress…

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Posted: 04 August 2008 12:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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I’ve heard of timber framed buildings in the UK both old and new. Funnily enough at work the other day I overheard a colleague in discussion with, presumably, a builder, saying how the building our office is in was “only brick built up to the first floor and timber framed above” (it’s late eighteenth/early nineteenth century).

So is ‘siding’ used in the sense you mention in the UK then Bayard?

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Posted: 04 August 2008 02:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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OED on siding as in building:

II.5.b. orig. and chiefly U.S. The boarding (usu. timber) forming the sides of a building; weather-boarding. Also (with a and pl.), a piece of this.
1829 J. F. COOPER Wept of Wish-ton-wish I. xvii. 246 [Dwellings] constructed of a firm frame-work, neatly covered with sidings of boards.

I can also state quite categorically and without fear of contradiction that it has a nautical origin:

6. Naut. (See quot. c1850.) 1797 Encycl. Brit. (ed. 3) XVII.

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Posted: 04 August 2008 04:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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extruded UPVC boards made to look like wood are common.

That’s what ours is.  Managed to finish the job today (at least on the north side of the house, which needed it most) without incapacitating myself again.  It helps to get an early start, before the temperature reaches triple digits.

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