"native or resident of Indiana," by c. 1830, American English, of unknown origin; newspapers in the 1830s published fanciful explanations, some still repeated, "none authenticated by evidence" [Century Dictionary]. 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 historical society article. The word also has been used generally for "country bumpkin."
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