Monday, February 18, 2008

Toboggin and Boggin

      Our recent snowfall and watching the kiddies wrapping up and getting out their sleds made me remember a pet peeve I have.  I hate it when people use the word "toboggin" for the knitted, wool cap they wear.  A toboggin is a light sled used for transport over snow.  According to my OED the word was Canadian French, "tabaganne", taken from an Algonquin word.  There are closely similar variations found in other Native American words. 

I have not found (or haven't so far) the origin of the word "boggin" for a knitted, wool cap.  I'm going to have to dig a little deeper, unless someone out there has a reference source for it.  I am aware of the word as Scottish slang for messy or smelly, and other similar adjectives.  But when did it become a name for a knitted cap?

27 comments:

am4039 said...

I always thought a toboggin was a sled thing, lol never new it was a hat.

cayasm said...

In the UK we use Tobogganing, not that we have much opportunity, I have looked for Boggin but cannot find any history relating to it.

Yasmin

pharmolo said...

In my neck of the woods, they're talking of a bobbin jumper or hat, meaning that it's knitted.

plieck30 said...

Interesting entry but here in south texas we wouldn't know much about anything to be used concerning snow. Haven't had a real snow since 1985. Paula

lattedah711 said...

That's a new one for me too.  Hmmm, if I come up with something, I'll let ya know.  :)
http://journals.aol.com/lattedah711/lattedah/    Tracy
http://lattedahdesigns.blogspot.com/

specialadyfink said...

I hadn't heard it called a toboggin until I married my hubby who is from the
south and it always irritated me.I think maybe somebodys momma said wear the hat that you wear when you go toboggiing -hence 'The Toboggining Hat'.[[Toboggin]]
Well-'anyway'..........It's a thought,LOL
connie

jarico63 said...

Well I'm from the south and my Mom always called it a "soogin' (oo as in look not soon). Don't know why...Sheila

fisherkristina said...

I googled and it brought me to Wikipedia.  It stated that the knitted wool cap, in the United States, may be called any of the following:

beanie, knit hat, knit cap, sock cap, stocking cap, toboggan, boggan, skull cap, skully, warm winter hat, ski capor, or ski cap depending on the region.

Here is your reference page:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beanie
Scroll down until you get to where it says "knit variety".  This is clearly the knitted wool cap that many wear in the US.  I know it is called a toboggan particularly in North Carolina after researching on the web.  I am not sure where else in the US.

Hope that helped!  Now where it ORIGINALLY came from I have NO idea.  I am wondering if it came from another language, or if somebody thought it looked like a toboggan, and just decided to call it that, LOL!  However, it IS proper usage in US.

Krissy :)
http://journals.aol.com/fisherkristina/SometimesIThink  

deshelestraci said...

Good question.  My husband calls knitted winter hats toboggins.  I had never ever heard that before.  I grew up in MA where a toboggin was a sled.
Traci

Anonymous said...

my mon always called the hat a boggin and I also call it a boggin, I am 60, my mom would have been 88 and she was raised in Kentucky, if that helps with the quest.

John Heckman Wright said...

I am also trying to get to the bottom of this mystery. My family says "tobaggin" for a hat as well. They are from Eastern Kentucky and as far as I can tell no one outside of Kentucky seems to use the word this way.

Rodney said...

In West Virginia, my grandmother always said, "Make sure you put on your Toboggin '!
She said it, so I say it.
I believe that the word has 2 meanings.
What it means to you should be all meanings applied to your region.
Deal?
Deal!

voofie said...

The name "boggin" came from the fact that the wool hat totally messes up anyone's hair if worn for any length of time. This was always the talk of everyone when I was growing up in Washington State winters. Everyone wore one back in the 40s, 50s and 60s, and messy hair was always the joke of the day after those things were removed. Friends across the border in British Columbia called the hat a "tooc" (as it is still called today up there)and they also made a fuss about the messy hair it causes. It was often called a "Head condom" by teens.

James said...

I know in Georgia it is called a boggin. I can guess at its origins, though it is just a guess. I think it may have started as a toboggining cap, and eventually shortened to a boggin.

Anonymous said...

A wool knit cap is a tuke.

Phillip Gray said...

I'm from Alabama and I've always heard the knit winter cap called a toboggan. My fiance, who is from California, recently informed me that a toboggan is a sled. Never heard that before but according to my research, toboggan sleds go all the back to the 1840s. Tobaggan caps as they were originally called go all the back to 1928 or 29, because its the type of cap you would wear while riding the sled. Eventually the cap part was dropped to be simply a toboggan.

Lori said...

Thank you to Phillip (and to everyone else for the input). I guess I'll just have to get used to it being called a "toboggan" by some. We always called the cap a boggan, but I'm sure that was shortened from toboggan at some point or another. And I'm from Kentucky.

Phillip Gray said...

Well my fiance calls the caps or hats, beanies. But what I call a beanie is like a toboggan but one of those that has a brim or bill on it. I don't wear those, I think they're just kind of weird looking lol. But I've heard the word boggan as well. I've just always figured it was an abbreviation of sorts or a slang word. My fiance and I are always clashing on what things are really called lol California is a whole other universe from the South. Don't even get me started on the 4 wheeler or quad, and BBQ or grill debates lol sheesh!

Anonymous said...

I grew up in North Alabama, and a knit hat was always called a boggin. Never toboggan, but simply boggin.

Lori said...

I'm glad to see this post is still getting read and receiving comments now and then. Who would have thought?!? Thank you everyone!

Streetwize said...

I grew up in N.C. and we always called the knit hat a "boggin" or toboggan too. I always thought it was strange that the sled had the same name.

Mike said...

I grew up in LA (lower Alabama) and we called them soogins.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in Southeast/South Central Alabama and we called them soogins too. Now, where did the term soogin come from?

Pookie said...

First of all, why is (almost) everyone here spelling the toboggan (sled) with an “i”? (as in “toboggin.”) Where I come from (Maryland), I grew up spelling it with an “a.” My American Heritage Dictionary - as well as my email spell-check and Wiktionary -- also spell it with an “a.”

Secondly, although I never heard of a winter/knit hat being called this, it’s not exactly rocket science to figure out that it’s called that because it’s what you wear when you go tobogganing! Hence this, from Wiktionary: "The sense of "hat" is recorded since 1929 and is short for toboggan cap (1928), a cap suitable for wearing while tobogganing.[1]"

Lori said...

Pookie, I believe you are right and toboggan should be spelled with an "a." I have found sources online and in print where it was spelled with an "i." That is how I was taught to spell it. But "a" is correct, and I Stand Corrected.

No, it is not rocket science to see the connection between the sled and the knitted hat one wears while sledding. But if you read the other comments you'll see that some people had never heard of the cap being called a toboggAn or boggan (boggin).

I am willing to accept that boggan has been used as a name for the knitted cap since 1929. I have enjoyed all the comments from people sharing what words they used where they are from to designate "sled" and "knitted wool cap." It has made for a nice little exchange.

I still cringe when I hear someone use the word toboggan for the cap, because I always picture a sled when I hear that word. This was meant as just a simple little post, expressing my curiosity and interest in the two words and soliciting comment about them. Thank you for your comment.

Unknown said...

Boggin here in N Alabama

Chris said...

lol...toboggan here in Tennessee and "watch cap" in the Marine Corps. After coming home from the service I've used the term "watch cap" and was looked upon like I just landed from Saturn. Corrected my grammar with the term "toboggan" and was back in good standing with the community.