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"native or resident of Indiana," by c.1830, American English, of unknown origin; fanciful explanations were printed in 1830s newspapers. Said to have been first printed Jan. 1, 1833, in the "Indianapolis Journal," in a poem, "The Hoosiers Nest," by John Finely, which poem was said to have been written in 1830 ["The Word Hoosier," "Indiana Historical Society Publications," vol. IV, No. 2, 1907], and to have been in oral use from late 1820s. Seemingly it originated among Ohio River boatmen; perhaps related to English dialectal (Cumberland) hoozer, used of anything unusually large [Barnhart]. For other theories, see the above quoted source.
[origin uncertain; perhaps related to southern Appalachian hoozer, ''anything unusually large, humdinger'']
A native or resident of Indiana (1826+)