Green’s Dictionary of Slang

hoosier n.

[ety. unknown; the suggestion of Cumbrian dial. hoozer, something large of its kind is not backed up by US use (a substantial discussion of possible ety. can be found at http://]

1. (US, also hooshier) a native of Indiana.

[US] in Chicago Trib. 2 June 1949 20/3: The Indiana hoosiers that came out last fall is settled from 2 to 4 milds of us [DA].
[US]Eve. Star (N.Y.) 3 Oct. 2/2: The meaning of the word Hoosier, the name of Gov. Ray’s newspaper, in Indiana, is a corruption of Hussar; derived from the pronunciation of a person appointed to command a company of Hussars during the late war, enlisting them under the name of Hoosier – which is the common name applied to the people of Indiana.
[US]Public Ledger (Phila.) 14 Oct. n.p.: The Illinoisans are called Suckers, the inhabitants of Indiana Hooshiers, and those of Ohio Buckeyes.
[US]Cincinnati Chronicle 26 Aug. n.p.: People in the Atlantic States know as little about the high and beating heart of the Mississippi Valley, as we Buck-eyes, Corn-crackers, and Hooshiers do about Nova Zembla.
[US]J.M. Field Drama in Pokerville 197: None of them ‘cotton’d’ to him more kindly than an elderly ‘hoosier,’ from the innermost depths of Indiana.
[US]G.G. Foster N.Y. by Gas-Light (1990) 170: The Hoosier of the Mississippi.
[US]R.F. Burton City of the Saints 165: A Hoosier (native of Indiana) was called upon the stand [etc.].
[US]M. Thompson Hoosier Mosaics 7: I was seeking a foreign appointment through the influence of my fellow Hoosier, the late Vice President of the United States.
[UK]W.A. Baillie-Grohman Camps in the Rockies 60: The fellow was a Hoosier (native of Indiana).
Herald (Los Angeles) 13 Feb. 3/2: [headline] Hard on the Hoosiers. Indiana Suffers Severely From the Effects of the Blizzard.
[US]Guthrie Daily Leader (OK) 17 May 3/1: [headline] Hoosiers to Meet. Indiana People in Oklahoma Prepare for Annual Talk.
Breckinridge News (Cloverport, KY) 19 Aug. 6/2: [headline]Many Hoosiers Stranded. Indiana Tourists in Europe Cut off from Home Folks.
[US]Eve. Herald (Albuquerque, NM) 23 Apr. 4/5: [headline] Indiana Picnic — Hoosiers Attention!
[US]Lait & Mortimer USA Confidential 136: In Indiana that often means pro-gangster. The drab, amoebic Hoosiers are particularly susceptible to this national epidemic.
[UK]M. Terry Old Liberty (1962) 166: He is a Hoosier.
[US]W.T. Vollmann You Bright and Risen Angels (1988) 337: ‘I’m from Cooverville, Indiana.’ [...] ‘Goddamn Hoosier’.
[US](con. 1975–6) E. Little Steel Toes 77: I get the feeling these Indiana Hoosiers are both farmboys at heart.

2. (US, also hooshier, hosier, hoozier) a peasant, a rustic simpleton.

[US]D. Corcoran Picking from N.O. Picayune 46: An original character is your genuine hoosier. By genuine we mean one [...] whose manners have suffered neither change nor modification by connexion or association of men of more conventional habits, one who [...] has no other culture than that bestowed on him by nature.
[US]G.W. Harris ‘There’s Danger in Old Chairs!’ Weekly Nashville Union XIII Oct. in Inge (1967) 67: They were as nice a pair of spectacles – no specimens – of the genus Hoozier, as you could wish to look at.
[US]R.W. Emerson Eng. Traits 27: I found abundant points of resemblance between the Germans [...] and our ‘Hoosiers,’ ‘Suckers,’ and ‘Badgers,’ of the American woods.
[US]H.L. Williams N.-Y. After Dark 15: But where is he, or she, corncracker, hoosier, Egyptian, Johnny, Yank.
Outing (NY) Nov. 152/2: Oh, say, papa. Did you notice that young Hoosier and his bride who sat opposite me at breakfast?
[US]B. Tarkington Gentleman from Indiana 125: I only wanted to say me and you certainly did fool these here Hoosiers this morning, huh?
[US]Flynt & Walton Powers That Prey 11: If my town’s tough it’s you hoosiers that come down here an’ turn yourselves loose an’ make it so.
[US]Ade Knocking the Neighbors 40: ‘A Frog is a Reptile,’ said the Hoosier.
[US]J. Black You Can’t Win (2000) 222: At daylight the next morning the hoosiers drag him out and he thinks they’re goin’ to lynch him.
[US]J. Callahan Man’s Grim Justice 66: They were an infuriated gang of hooziers.
[US]‘Goat’ Laven Rough Stuff 72: He ripped out a .38 gun, and says ‘Get back all you bunch of hosiers,’ meaning farmers or simple scum.
[US]E. Anderson Thieves Like Us (1999) 47: Running about in these overalls like a damned Hoosier.
[US]W.E. Wilson Wabash 187: Dunn, the historian [...] says that ‘hoosier’ was a slang word once used in the South to denote a ‘jay’ or ‘hayseed’.
[US]T. Runyon In For Life 69: It takes the rank ‘hoosier’ [...] to ask foolish, personal questions.
[US]M. Braly Felony Tank (1962) 18: You didn’t let a hoosier off with a fair price.
[US]E. Thompson Garden of Sand (1981) 273: He personally viewed everyone out of prison as peapickers, hoosiers, hayseeds, or clodhoppers.
[US](con. 1970s) J. Pistone Donnie Brasco (2006) 358: Tell Tony bring a tie and a shirt. Not dress like a fucking Hoosier from Pennsylvania.
[US](con. 1930s) Courtwright & Des Jarlais Addicts Who Survived 100: Lucky used to sell to the hoosiers.
[US](con. 1964–8) J. Ellroy Cold Six Thousand 158: The hollys were Hoosiers. The Hollys had Klan ties.

3. (US Und.) a gullible person.

[US]J.H. Green Arts and Miseries of Gambling 75: A gambler got to playing with a man whom he mistook for a green Hoosier, that knew nothing of playing scientifically.
[US]A.J. Pollock Und. Speaks n.p.: Hoosier, the hold-up victim.
[US]C. Hamilton Men of the Und. 322: Hoosier, A credulous person.

4. (US tramp) a ‘farmer’.

[US]J. Flynt Tramping with Tramps 153: Well, you old hoosier, you, can you gimme some apple-butter? [Ibid.] 394: Everybody who does not know the world as the hobo knows it is to him a ‘farmer,’ ‘hoosier,’ or outsider.

5. (US) an amateur, novice or incompetent.

Long Wildfowl 144: ‘Greenhorns’ and hoosiers as the regular hunters call such fellows [...] always commence to cry, ‘Down! down! here comes a duck.’ [DAE].
[US]Amer. Mercury Jan. 64/2: The word hoosier is applied to anyone who is incompetent [DA].
[US]Ersine Und. and Prison Sl. 45: hoosier, n. A simple, loutish person who is not knowing in underworld ways and who is likely to be a rat; any person in disfavor with the speaker. This most common of underworld epithets has no reference to Indiana.
[US]W.R. Burnett Asphalt Jungle in Four Novels (1984) 203: Why plan at all? Why not just blunder about [...] like the rest of the chumps and hoosiers?
[US]W.R. Burnett Little Men, Big World 24: Parlays are for hoosiers.
[US]Ragen & Finston World’s Toughest Prison 804: hoosier – An inefficient worker.

6. (US Und.) a local small-town police officer.

[US]Wash. Post 11 Nov. Miscellany 3/6: The ‘hoosier with bushes and a tin’ which is a running description of a ‘country bull’ or Constable.

7. (US prison) a prison visitor.

[US]G. Milburn ‘Convicts’ Jargon’ in AS VI:6 439: hoosier, n. An outsider; a prison visitor.
[US]Mencken Amer. Lang. (4th edn) 580: In virtually all American prisons [...] visiting day is the big day, a prison visitor is a hoosier.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).

In compounds

In phrases

hoosier up (v.)

(US tramp) to act like a simpleton.

[US](con. 1920s–40s) in J.L. Kornbluh Rebel Voices.
[Can](con. 1920s) O.D. Brooks Legs 116: I knew I’d begged a copper. My only hope was to hoosier up and make him think I was a green punk that didn’t know the score.