We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

Why Is Indiana Called the Hoosier State?

By R. Stamm
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
America Explained is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At America Explained, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Since Indiana officially adopted the Hoosier State motto in the early 1830s, much debate has surrounded the reasons and the origins of the term without a definite answer as to why they chose it. Some citizens suggest that the state’s motto stems from a famous ship or a poem, and others prefer to believe in taller tales about barroom brawls and mispronounced phrases. Historians performed extensive studies of the word to determine the origin, and theories suggest that it is a derogatory, Anglo-Saxon word used to describe uneducated, backwoods people. Early settlers and modern-day citizens of Indiana believe the word describes a body of brave and courageous people. Whatever the reason, Indiana displays the motto proudly throughout the state.

There are several false stories concerning the word "Hoosier" and its application to the Hoosier State. One false tale describes how nosy woodsmen would call out, “Who’s here,” running the words together so that they eventually sounded like Hoosier. Other false theories concerning the mispronunciation of phrases include running the words “who’s your relative" together so that it sounds like the word Hoosier. The theory that word Hoosier stems from the Indian word hoosa, which means corn or maize, is also a false claim. Another false report gives credit for the phrase to an Indiana contractor named Hoosier who called his men “Hoosier’s men.”

While there are many false stories and tall tales about the origins of the motto Hoosier State, several plausible reasons exist. Perhaps the most likely explanation that the Hoosier State calls itself by that name is due to John Finley’s poem “The Hoosier’s Nest.” In this poem, the word describes a group of independent, brave people. Early settlers seemed to believe the term had a similar meaning to that of the poem and proudly used it to refer to themselves. Another possible reason is that a business man, G.L. Murdoch, offered to call his ship the “Indiana Hoosier” for business privileges in a letter he wrote to General John Tipton in February of 1831.

While these stories are entertaining, etymologists and historians agree that the phrase Hoosier describes others in a contemptuous manner. The derogatory term applied to individuals in the same context as the words redneck or hick. The term first described the peoples living in the Ohio Valley and then spread through to Southern Indiana. Over the years, the term came to include all inhabitants of Indiana; and it lost the negative connotations of the original meaning.

America Explained is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
America Explained, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

America Explained, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.