What Is a Toboggan: Hat or Sled?

Updated on April 5, 2018

A Regional Debate

Several years ago, I had some friends who were Yankees (and they were pretty darn proud of it). He was from northern Maine and she was from New Hampshire. You really don't get much more Yankee than that. This was their first winter in Texas.

On a particularly cold day, I mentioned that their son needed a toboggan. I got the strangest look from the couple. Since we had no snow on the ground they thought I had lost my mind. They asked me why he needed a toboggan. I told them "to keep his head warm, of course." The couple roared with laughter. That was the first time I realized that everyone in the world didn't call a knit cap a toboggan. To them, a toboggan was a traditional wooden sled. No wonder they wanted to know why I thought their son needed one! And, no wonder they found it so funny that I thought one would keep his head warm.

They honestly thought I had lost my mind. Here I was, nearly 40 years old, and I had been calling knit caps toboggans all my life. Of course, they were the same age and had always known sleds as toboggans.

It's not that I didn't know a certain type of sled was sometimes called a toboggan, we just don't have them in Texas. They, on the other hand, couldn't fathom a hat being called a toboggan.

This image from "Camp Life in the Woods and the Tricks of Trapping and Trap Making" by William Hamilton Gibson depicts a toboggan sled.
This image from "Camp Life in the Woods and the Tricks of Trapping and Trap Making" by William Hamilton Gibson depicts a toboggan sled. | Source

Researching the Meaning of "Toboggan"

That funny anecdote began the research mission. My friends were determined to prove me wrong and I was determined to prove to them that at least one dictionary in the world acknowledges that a toboggan can also be a winter hat.

I did eventually find a dictionary that had toboggan listed as a hat. Unfortunately, it was a large two-volume set and I wasn't going to pay that much money to prove a point! However, I'm beginning to see more and more dictionaries (printed and online) that include a toboggan as a type of winter cap or hat. Wikipedia also acknowledges it as a type of hat.

It became a quite a topic of (friendly) contention between us. So much so that I finally named my dog Toby as a jab at them. Toby, short for toboggan. My New Englander friends and I would quiz people we met on the street hoping to determine the regions of the United States that used it as a term for a sled vs. a hat.

A toboggan if you're from the South.
A toboggan if you're from the South. | Source

A Toboggan Is a Hat to Southerners

Here's what I found out on my end. From the research I've done, it appears that the southern region of the United States (the areas that use Southern American English) use the term toboggan to refer to a knit winter hat. This area includes the states of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana, Kentucky, and Texas. It may also include specific regions of Oklahoma, Missouri, Maryland, West Virginia, Florida, and New Mexico.

If you're in the American South, your toboggan is your hat!

A Toboggan Is a Sled to New Englanders

If you're from New England, as well as many other places in the US, a toboggan refers to a type of simple traditional sled without runners, designed for riding down hills. This type of sled was created and used by the indigenous people of northern Canada.

If you're in America outside of the South (or if you're in Canada), a toboggan likely refers to a sled.

Which do you use? Take the poll.

Is a toboggan a type of hat or a sled where you live?

See results

Toboggan Etymology

The Online Etymology Dictionary states that the word "toboggan" originates from the word tabagane, which was the French interpretation of the word for the sled in one of the Algonquian languages (likely tepaqan from the Mi'kmaq language).

The Word Detective blog claims the use of toboggan as a term for a hat in Southern English originates in the early 20th century, when it was referred to as a "toboggan hat" because it was the most commonly worn type of hat for sledding.

Other Names for a Toboggan Hat

It turns out that a "toboggan" hat has many different regional names. Here are a few other terms that are used in the English-speaking world for this type of hat:

  • beanie
  • sherpa
  • watch cap (military)
  • sock or stocking hat
  • snookie
  • burglar hat

You're in good company whether you wear a toboggan or ride one. How about we put on our toboggans, pull out our wooden toboggans, and take Toby the dog for a ride?

Questions & Answers

  • In Canada a toboggan is a sled and a touque is a hat?

    Thanks for sharing a Canadian perspective on the subject.

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      Mr. A. N. Onymous 13 days ago

      I’m living in East Texas, and a toboggan is what you wear on your head. I ain’t never seen a wooden hat or one your ride in snow. I met a Yankee who laughed himself silly at me. I had my cats charades him off the property barking like crazy. He tried to tell me my German Shepherd cat was a DOG! Maybe up in the crazy North, but not here in the great state of Texas!

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      Seth 7 weeks ago

      I'm 50 years old, born and raised in the great state of Arkansas, and here, a toboggan is only a knitted hat used in the winter. Called a Tugue in (French) Canada.

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      Ron 2 months ago

      I am from Northern Maine and my wife is from Northern Massachuetts. We recently moved to Tennessee and oddly enough I had pretty much this exact same conversation with a co-worker of mine!! It is for that reason my research brought me to this site.

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      Shannon 2 months ago

      I am originally from California and now live in Arkansas. My preschoolers were so excited after Christmas sharing all of their new toboggans I was looking for a sled. But in the South toboggans our hats I guess. Just like palettes are beds made with Towels or blankets as where I come from a palette is made of nothing but wood.

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      g c cunningham 2 months ago

      Excellent article! I'm from Alabama, but have lived in CA for 30 years, and had the same experience a few years ago ...with my wife. She laughed her head off and I thought my knowledge of "toboggan cap" must have been some dumb thing my family got wrong. Googling thru internet I find: 1-it's a southern thing, especially in North and South Carolina, and Virginia and W. Virginia. 2-In eastern Canada they called a knit cap a "toboggan cap," and later just "toboggan." Fascinating regional descriptors, similar to: soda, pop, "coke."

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      Deborah Polley 2 months ago

      Now we have another dilemma inside of the original one. A SLED has runners on it and is more easily steered in a certain direction. A TOBOGGAN is flat on the bottom. They are different. I am from Michigan and a Knit hat is just that "a knit hat". I have lived in Ohio for several years and people here call the knit hat a toboggan.

      A sled and toboggan can both be used to go down a hill, but they are different.

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      Gretchen 2 months ago

      I grew up in Texas and never called a hat a toboggan... not sure I ever heard one called it either

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      Daryl 2 months ago

      I live and work in west GA, but I grew up in the Cincinnati, OH area. In both parts of the country, as well as in southeast TN, I've heard toboggan used to describe both a hat and a sled. My father was from Kannapolis, NC and he also used toboggan to describe knit hats. One of my company's employees recently moved here from Canada, and he was told that he would need a toboggan to keep his head warm given the unusually cold weather we'd been having. He had to ask for an explanation of this and was very surprised to learn that this referred to a hat. He thought that they were suggesting that he use the wooden sled that he had in his garage as some kind of wind break. Finally, another new employee recently moved from the Dallas, TX area. When this part of Georgia had snow for the first time in 6 years his neighbor (a gentleman originally from New York), told him that he should hop on a toboggan and use it to slide down the icy hill outside the hill outside their houses to reach the street where they parked their cars the night before in anticipation of the bad weather. He said that he'd never heard of the sled, only the hat, so he couldn't figure out why anyone would want to use a hat for this purpose.

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      Ben 2 months ago

      I live in Ohio and here the dividing line seems to be interstate 70. North of 70 most folks call them knit caps, stocking caps, or even winter hats. So confusing. South of 70 they are toboggans. We wear toboggans and sometimes even get the toboggan out of the garage when the conditions are right for my dad's 6' long toboggan to go really good on the hills. :)

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      Phillip Lewis 2 months ago

      I am from Jeffersonville, Indiana; a quaint little city just across the Ohio River from Louisville, Kentucky and we have always called knit hats toboggans. Any type of sled we referred to as a sled-- the only different type of sled would've been a bobsled! I've known the definition of the word, just never gave it much thought as I assumed we were just leaving the word "hat" off the end. I mean, during winter when it actually does snow and you can sled, you have kids grabbing garbage can lids and that's a sled on that particular day! Beanies are something different. A beanie fits more snug on the head like the caps worn by Muslims, and a stocking cap is what us black guys wear to get waves! That's just how I grew up...

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      Michaela 3 months ago

      I was listening to a podcast recently where this came up. The host (who is from West Virginia) referred to someone as “wearing a toboggan with ear flaps”. I probably made the same face as your friends in your example. All I could picture was a wooden sled with knit flaps on the side. For reference, I’m 31 years old, from Rhode Island and had never heard this before in my life! Very interesting! :) It makes me think of how this type of hat in Canada is often referred to as a “tuque”. I’ve always just said beanie or cap.

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      Vicky Jean 3 months ago

      Raised in West Virginia, we wore toboggans on our heads & rode down hills on our sleds in the winter.

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      Toboggan wearer 3 months ago

      I was driving a few executive producers around and the sniffles in the air made me mention that they needed toboggans. They all stopped and said that's a sled, why do we need that?

      ALL of my life that's what myself and everyone else that l know have called knitted hats and we call a sled a sled!!

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      Bonita Chambers 3 months ago

      My husband and I are from different counties in Southwest Virginia. Both of us have always called a knit hat a toboggan. We just recently found out that people in Hilton Head, South Carolina are not familiar with the term. I got online to begin my research to prove them wrong and was delighted to find it had already been done lol. Thank you!

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      Diana schuette 3 months ago

      first time I heard this term was while reading a Jan Karon book(she writes about a family in Carolina) I thought it was a misprint. In Wisconsin we call them stocking caps.

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      tony - Southeastern Ohio 3 months ago

      Toboggan always

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      GeorgeKempis 3 months ago

      I live in western New York, but have lived all over. I had never heard a knit hat called a toboggan until a recent visit to Virginia. We've always called them "stocking hats".

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      Stephanie 3 months ago

      I am from NW Georgia and I call knitting caps toboggans.

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      Jeannine 3 months ago

      I am from East TN and I am 48 yrs old. I have called a nit cap a toboggan all of my life.

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      Carrie 4 months ago

      I am from East Texas and I've always called a winter hat a toboggan. I was a teenager before I even knew a toboggan was a sled, LOL. Of course, we don't do a lot of sledding in Tx. My husband is from OH and thought I was crazy the first time he heard me say that I was looking for my toboggan before I went outside. He called winter hats beanies. Ronald mentioned that it was originally called a "toboggan hat" because you wore it while sledding. That makes the most sense!

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      Karen Curtis 4 months ago from Central Texas

      Let me clarify for you.....those of us that grew up calling this type of winter hatwear a toboggan are fully aware that it is also a type of sled. We are not stupid or confused. As you can see from the comments there are many many people who are familiar with what I'm talking about.

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      dejavudu 4 months ago

      I've been a Virginian my entire life and I've honestly never heard before yesterday that there are people in the world who think a toboggan is something you wear.

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      Karen Curtis 4 months ago from Central Texas

      Thank you for all your comments. It's nice to see that we all have similar circumstances where people around us refer to it differently.

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      David 4 months ago

      My grandma from Germany also called it a toboggan

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      Ronald 5 months ago

      I’m from the north and moved to the south and my wife is from the south and we had argued about this before. I was curious and googled it. Found that the reason the hat is now being called toboggan is because at one time in the hat was called a “toboggan hat” because it was a suitable hat to where when riding a toboggan. It was then shortened to “toboggan” later on.

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      Danny 5 months ago

      I'm from NWA and have always called a knit cap a toboggan never knew it by any other name. Beanie is a fairly new term I believe and one all my sons grew up with. When I say toboggan I get a funny look even from my family.

      By the way NWA is, Northwest Arkansas.

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      Linaudth 5 months ago

      I am from Cleveland, and my husband from Kentucky. We have argued this for years. I told him 28 years ago that I will continue to teach our children that a tobaggan is a sled because I never wanted them to be made fun of when they traveled the world their entire life. I chose to follow 85% of the USA....just sayin

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      janet 5 months ago

      We always called knit hats toboggans growing up in KY , but we also knew sleds were called toboggans as well.. We just didn't refer to the sleds as toboggans that often...Those cheap plastic sleds we had were just called sleds.

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      Jason 5 months ago

      Odd that they didn't know. In Ohio all my life and we've always called the hats toboggans.

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      Rebecca from Florida 6 months ago

      My boyfriend has been making fun of me about me believing my knit hat wasn't a toboggan. I lived in New Hampshire for 7 years so I thought I knew what I was talking about. Thankyou for this!!! Now I can prove him wrong!!!

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      Cole from Ohio 7 months ago

      I'm from southeastern ohio. Everyone always called it a toboggan. Made friends from Cleveland in college and they had never heard a hat being called that.

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      Okie Z 7 months ago

      Born in '81, from Oklahoma. My mother taught it to me as toboggan. I've received funny glances for it, but not from this state, lol. Maybe in OKC. I can understand why people might laugh at it, but I personally laugh at it when people call it a beanie. Learn what a beanie really is, while you're on this path as well.

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      Karen Curtis 9 months ago from Central Texas

      Really appreciate all of the comments from around the state of people having similar discussions. Thank you!

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      T Sholette 9 months ago

      My wife and I had this same conversation when we first started dating in 1980. I'm from upstate NY and she's from Ok. My sister's and I had a good laugh.

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      Lauren 11 months ago

      I am from Cullman, Alabama and there are a few word usages on which my husband and I disagree. Toboggan is one of the main culprits. I have about 20 toboggans in my closet. He thinks I have too many knitted caps. I'll say I'm fixin' to do something and he rolls his eyes. I have been known to tump my 4x4 over. Hubby insists that tump is not a word as he's pulling the 4x4 out with his truck. I've been known to get ill with someone and I'm angry, not sick.

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      GE Hoostal 11 months ago

      I’m about the same as Ohio Lifer. From NE OH, edge of Appalachian foothills: they’re S, SW, & SE outside my hometown; but go NW & W & it’s much flatter. I think the dialect likewise has an unusual convergence. Now in NE IN though.

      It seems from the comments that at least from Columbus S (& maybe E & SE), ‘toboggan’ means ‘hat’. Not really in Columbus itself, & but otherwise, that area has a somewhat Southern dialect & accent, with drawl, similar to KY & WV.

      Couple hrs’ drive farther NE, where I’m from, it’s…

      ‘Toboggan’ being only the wooden sled depicted. The hat is just ‘a hat’ or ‘a warm hat’—thinking of my mom calling out, ‘Put on a warm hat before you go outside!’—although other types count too; mothers don’t care much except that a hat is warm & covers the ears all the way!

      Shopping ‘cart’. My husband’s family (from OH close to PA) says ‘buggy’. Regional usage seems to have originated with mine-carts.

      The drink is ‘pop’, but I prefer ‘soda’ since that seems more logical to me. ‘Coke’ to mean that seems highly illogical: What if you want the literal Coke flavor? Q: Do you want a Coke? A: Yes. Q: What kind? A: Coke. (Huh? Or is it, ‘I SAID, “Coke”!’?) What if you don’t like that flavor (I don’t) & want anything but it, but you’re still asking for it? It’s kind of giving me a headache. Ohio Lifer is right about this. If you ask for a Kleenex or a tissue, what you get is essentially one thing. The brand doesn’t matter particularly. Likewise with a soda. The brand’s a lot less important than the flavor. Reminds me of people who always refer to vehicles by their model-names. That’s weird to me. I call them just ‘car’ & ‘truck’, except to distinguish between cars or trucks, & then I’d think of color before model-name.

      There’s a ‘hero’ shop in my hometown, but eventually a Subway was built also, & at least now I think ‘sub’ is common. Like ‘hat’ & ‘car’, we say just ‘sandwich’.

      ‘Dinner’ is in the evening, also for Columbus grandparents, although for my in-laws & hometown grandparents: ‘supper’. I think for in-laws ‘dinner’ is at noon & hometown grandparents ‘lunch’ is at noon.

      My mother-in-law says ‘sweeper’. I think of a broom though, or the person using it, or maybe street-sweeper. ‘Vacuum’ always.

      More regionalisms: ‘crayfish’ (most etymologically authentic, from ME crevise); housing ‘development’ (here in IN, it’s an ‘addition’); ‘frosting’ is creamy &, like frost, opaque; ‘icing’ is thin &, like ice, translucent; a long cream-filled doughnut is a ‘creamstick’; ‘tree-lawn’; ‘wood-louse’; ‘trash-can’ (not ‘garbage-can’: garbage is food-waste, hence garbage-disposal’…looking at the Wikipedia list now…); I THINK my mom calls an indoor faucet a ‘faucet’ but an outdoor one a ‘spigot’—not sure—but she’s from the Columbus area, & like ‘hat’ & ‘car’ & ‘sandwich’ (developing theme) I say just ‘the water’, e.g. ‘hook this hose up to the water’, or ‘faucet’ if I have to; ‘frying-pan’ or more likely just ‘pan’ (mother-in-law says ‘skillet’); ‘gutter’; ‘pit’ (as in ‘peach’ I guess); ‘firefly’, but ‘lightning bug’ is normal too; ‘bucket’, but ‘pail’ is normal too; rubber-soled shoes worn in gym class, for athletic activities, etc. are, like ‘hat’ & ‘car’ & ‘sandwich’ & ‘water’, just ‘shoes’ (if I want to be more specific, then the sport they’re for, like ‘running shoes’ & ‘tennis shoes’ are 2 different kinds, except for rugby & soccer, just ‘cleats’); drinking ‘fountain’—Hey, Wikipedia concurs on my division of OH for ‘toboggan’!—‘roundabout’; ‘drive-through’ liquor store; ‘milkshake’; my dad says ‘catty-corner’ (properly ‘cater-cornered’), but I say ‘diagonally across’ the st. or whatever; & ‘stoop’, being a little porch, but ‘porch’ is more usual.

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      Catherine Gardner 11 months ago

      Thank you for your explanation of a knit hat being called a toboggan. I live in the U.k. Have never heard of such a thing. I'm reading a book and trying to imagine a hat in the shape of a sled

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      Krista from Maine 13 months ago

      I came to your site because a friend of mine (from Texas) and I were shopping a couple of weeks ago and he said he was looking for a toboggan. I looked at him like he had two heads because of course, we are in Texas, it's March and there is no earthly place to use it except as decoration. He explained to me that a toboggan was a hat - wool in type. I thought me meant beret...but it turns out he was talking about a knit hat/cap or a ski hat. I thought it was funny that I'd never heard of that use. I was interested to find out the origin of that word for those who use it.

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      Eric 13 months ago

      This article doesn't really explain anything except a fun anecdote

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      Phil G. 14 months ago

      My wife is from Canada and the first time I said this, she laughed to no end.

      It wasn't until we were going through a check out line that a cashier spoke up about toboggans being a hat since we were discussing it at the time.

      I was just glad to know I was NOT the only one and now seeing it online... at least I know some of us aren't just crazy ;-)

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      Cynthia Chandler 14 months ago

      I have spent my entire life calling the winter hats toboggans also. My family is from upstate New York & they've always called them toboggans. So, you aren't alone. You're part of a large group now. LMAO

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      Connie Kukielka 15 months ago

      I am from Southern Ohio and I call a knit cap a toboggan. My husband is from New Jersey and calls a curved sled a toboggan.

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      Joe1909 15 months ago

      Called a ski cap not a toboggan

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      Christian Hawke 16 months ago

      A toboggan is a type of sled; a boggin is a type of hat. Although I have no proof of this, I believe that southerners adopted "toboggan" for their knit caps because "boggin" and "tobaggan" are so similar.

      Anyone?

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      Justin Wildesen 16 months ago

      I feel your pain. I have called it a toboggan my whole life and I have been picked on about it from everyone I know. My grandmother told me it got its name because when you went out to sled on your toboggan you needed your toboggan hat.

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      Alicia 16 months ago

      Thank you...you post saved me when this discussion can up with my husband...yah baby ..let's hear it for TX.

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      Suellen Garrison 16 months ago

      Born and raised in Ohio and in the winter we always wore a toboggan HAT and would ride down a hill on a toboggan SLED. I'm 72 and am so surprised so many never heard of a Hat and Sled both being called toboggans.

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      Pete 16 months ago

      In the Navy it is called a Watch Cap.

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      Bryan 16 months ago

      Born and raised in Ohio. Never ever heard a knot cap/winter hat referred to a as a "toboggan". This is a type of wooden sled to be sure. Not sure where others here from Ohio or Indiana ever heard toboggan as a hat? Maybe they are in a very rural area or have family from the south that called it that? Not sure. Toboggan goes down a hill, a knit hat/cap goes on your head;)

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      Bridgette Cash 16 months ago

      Well I'm from deep south Texas and my husband is from NORTH CAROLINA and we dicited to move to NC after having kids winter came along and I started hearing everyone say the word toboggin. Lol that was the funniest word I had ever heard deep south Texas where it never even snows I had never heard that word in my life!!! So I asked my husbands grandmother what is that????? She told me it was a warm winter hat. I'm like what???? As said iI'm from "deep" south Texas I call that a BEENIE!!! LOL and people from over their don't know what a beenie is lol. So their you go. I call it a Bernie you call it a toboggin.

      Thank you.

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      Linda 16 months ago

      In Georgia, we call them boggans. We never had a toboggan, because we never had snow. (well, rarely) But we knew what a toboggan was and I never thought boggan was short for toboggan. My family and I have argued about these things for years, but we enjoy it. We also call a car trunk a cooterhull and a glove compartment is the "pocket." In south Georgia, we have a lot of words and expressions not heard anywhere else! Like"streak-ed." Others call it "striped." Also, drop cord and fly flap and piedy and nary and nurn.

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      Donna 16 months ago

      Love this! I just left the Litchfield, Illinois Micky D's where they were selling Tobaggans. I told the older fellow taking my order that I would love one of those Cardinal/Blues Tobaggans. He was like which item is a Tobaggan? (They had socks too). My husband laughed and said wearing a sled on your head is a Carolina thing. I am used to his ribbing and will not stop calling knit hats Tobaggans. It provides much comic relief when I am around non southerners. Besides call it a knit cap sounds too formal and a bit rhetorical. Yes, it is a knit cap, but is it a Tobaggan??

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      Dan 23 months ago

      you wear a topnoggan, and ride a tobaggan

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      Chris 24 months ago

      Priceless! In Canada it's toboggan vs sled and toque vs wool hat/beanie etc. Been living in Texas for three years and trying to learn the language!

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      Karen Curtis 2 years ago from Central Texas

      I agree, JackieR! Nice to know there are many of us who know it as both and are ok with others knowing it only as a sled. :)

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      JackieR 2 years ago

      I have lived in Oklahoma my whole life and always called them toboggans. I have a friend from Michigan who argued with me recently about it being a sled and I thought maybe I was crazy! Glad to know I am not! My thought is to each their own! You don't need to prove anyone wrong, or yourself right. But I do always call it a toboggan everytime I am around her just to irate her!

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      Karen Curtis 2 years ago from Central Texas

      Glad I could help! LOL

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      Romy 2 years ago

      So glad I found this. I saw a site for making quilts out of your own clothing. However the woman said not to send silk, swimwear, underwear, or toboggans. I thought; "How could she add parts of a sled to a quilt? Maybe this is a typo! Maybe she breaks off small pieces of the sled! Could this woman be a little crazy? Maybe this is a joke!" When I found your blog, I said "OHHHHHH". It's a knit cap. Now I can go back to sleep. Crazy things bother a person at 4am.

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      Amanda 2 years ago

      So funny my mom was from KY and dad from Mississippi and i grew up in Wisconsin...all my friends said beanie...but my family said Toboggan. ..so i was very confused haha..

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      Sue 2 years ago

      In Minnesota they call a casserole a hot dish.

      In North Carolina a hot dish is a gal who is doing something she shouldn't be doing!!!!!

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      Kristi 2 years ago

      Your article was a great source of laughter in my office today. I am a "Northerner" from Florida that just recently moved "South" to Alabama. I had never heard the term toboggan used to describe a knitted cap; we always called them beanies. One of the guys I worked with asked if we had any more toboggans and I had absolutely NO idea what he was talking about. We got into a pretty healthy debate about the meaning of the word and that is how I found your article. Thanks for the clarification! :)

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      Karen Curtis 3 years ago from Central Texas

      Preston, I'm glad you found my article. Toboggan-wearers unite! LOL. You can print this and show them you are definitely not alone.

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      Preston 3 years ago

      I can't believe that this article is over 6 years old. I was raised in Texas saying toboggan meaning a hat, but my wife always kids me about it...so much so, that I finally caved in and conceded that I must be wrong. Wow, I can't wait to print this article and show her!

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      Karen Curtis 3 years ago from Central Texas

      I'm with you Chris! Glad you found you're not alone!

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      Chris 3 years ago

      I'm from Berlin, MD but born in SC, dad from Texas, mom born in Berlin, which is on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. All I ever knew to call a winter hat was "toboggan", I didn't even know it was also a sled till I was in my late 20's. I still call a hat a toboggan and always will!! I have co-workers making fun of me all the time, however I'm old school to a fault sometimes and will carry on southern tradition of all things unique about our cultural upbringing. I live in Annapolis, MD now. You can take the boy out of the south, but you can't take the south out of the boy!!!

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      Greg Smith 3 years ago

      I'm from southern Ohio and I've never known knitted caps by anything other than a toboggan. My parents were born and raised in Kentucky and West Virginia, so that's probably were I learned it from. My wife to be is from Cleveland and laughs at me every time I speak it. ;)

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      Tami 3 years ago

      We call them toboggans here in Kentucky too. That's a funny story! I grew up in Ohio and never heard winter caps called a toboggan there.

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      Karen Curtis 3 years ago from Central Texas

      You are in good company Tammye. You are not a loony! :) Long live toboggans!

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      Tammye 3 years ago

      Thank you so much for the article. I live in Kansas City however, am a Texas native and when I called a hat a toboggan my husband laughed at me. Here in the Midwest they call em beanies. I will forever call it a toboggan. ...I am still a southern girl and want to be remembered as such some day. I was having this argument with my best friend tho whose definitely a Yankee...he's from New Jersey and now I can prove I'm not loony lol.

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      Karen Curtis 4 years ago from Central Texas

      We are pretty much in the same boat here in central Texas. :)

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      Randy Godwin 4 years ago from Southern Georgia

      I assume it has to do with how infrequently we have wear them in this sub-tropical climate, and besides, some people think we talk funny down here anyway. :o

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      Karen Curtis 4 years ago from Central Texas

      Hey Randy! LOL.......well......ok.......interesting! I don't think anyone has mentioned that shortened version.

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      Randy Godwin 4 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Not down here in south Georgia, KCC! We leave off the 'ta' and simply refer to them as "boggins". :)

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      Karen Curtis 4 years ago from Central Texas

      Thank you for all the comments! I love that there are Southerners all over that still know them as toboggans! :)

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      mnoble 4 years ago

      I'm Southern born and Southern bred... moved to Iowa... they laughed so hard at me needing to WEAR a toboggan in winter... thanks for proving I was correct! ...and when I die I'll be Southern dead...y'all !!!

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      crickett 4 years ago

      As a Floridian..we always called them toboggans. My Ca. friends calls them Beanies. Thanks for the article.

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      Tina 4 years ago

      I'm so glad that I had your article to show my boyfriend. The weather just turned cold and icy. I made the comment that he needed to put on a toboggan. He thought I was severely confused. We had this fun debate "while on the way to take him to the doctor to rule out pneumonia" and I was relieved to know that I'm not the only one to use the term for the winter cap he needed to be using.

      The ironic thing is that we are both native Texans and he had never heard the term used in that context and thought only of it as a sled. Wow! Go figure that one out. I'm still scratching my head over it.

      P.S. I love the fact that you named your dog Toby. Something I so would've done too. :-)

      Thanks again for your article.

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      Diane Gollinger 4 years ago

      While according to this both North and South are correct. Hoever, ponder this Have you ever seen a Hat race at the Olympics???

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      William 4 years ago

      I'm 23 from Southern Canada and I have always called my winter hat a toboggan. I have never been to the southern United States but my mother said that I have always referred to my hat as a toboggan and she's always known it to be a toboggan also. so I must have pick up the terminology from her. my girlfriend jus recently heard me call it that and she couldn't help but laugh. lol it was funny though, I found it amusing that she had never heard that term. thanks for the post and thread, I love it

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      superich 4 years ago

      It's really funny... I work in a Maximum Federal Penn down in Southern Virginia. The bulk of our inmates are from the bigger cities in the North. It is our policy that the inmates must remove their headgear when they enter the dining facility. It's funny to see the Southern Correctional Staff to tell the inmates to remove their toboggan. The inmates look at them like they are nuts... I am originally from the North and have never heard of a toboggan hat. It's a sled where I come from. I try to explaining that to he Southern Coorectional Staff here and of course they think I'm an idiot. What can you say. These guys have been brought up that way. What are you gonna do. Tell them that everything they learned from their family over the years is wrong. Go way to get your butt kicked down here. But it's really funny when you see the looks that they get from these Northern Inmates when they tell them to take a sled off their heads.... LOL.

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      ElliCee 4 years ago

      Posted this on FB last winter...

      I walked into a market deep in the WV mountains and the gal behind the counter says - "Hey Honey, I love that tBAWLgeen." Thinking she means the Ravens "ballgame" (I had on my gear) I responded about the score. She stared at me as if I were as dumb as a box of rocks. "Doll, I said I love your T-BAWL-GIN"! Ah, I looked over my shoulder - she must mean my rental car = form of transportation (more or less) = toboggan.

      Long, awkward silence.

      "Your hat Sweetie." Go figure.

    • KCC Big Country profile image
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      Karen Curtis 4 years ago from Central Texas

      That's the way it appears Andy. Just look at all the comments.

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      Andy 4 years ago

      Everyone in Louisville growing up called snow hats toboggans. Since then I have lived in Nashville, Cincinnati, and Chicago among others and no one refers to them as toboggans and look at me like I'm crazy when I say it. If it is a southern thing it must be only in certain regions, because no one in Nashville had heard of it.

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      Karen Curtis 4 years ago from Central Texas

      I think that's the best part.....the reactions from those who have never called a hat a toboggan. :) Now you know you're not alone!

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      Derek 4 years ago

      Im from southern ohio and i call the hat a toboggan. It was hilarious to see my friends reactions who lived only 40 miles north of me when i mentioned this during a winter day, they of course, have never heard of that usage of the word.

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      Millie Lee 4 years ago

      *boggans* NOT boggnas. :)

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      Millie Lee 4 years ago

      I grew up in Kentucky and we always called them boggnas.

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      Karen Curtis 5 years ago from Central Texas

      LOL, glad to know I could help, Dentonj24. You can tell you are not alone on this issue. We should start a support group. LOL :)

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      dentonj24 5 years ago

      Two months ago I moved from GA to MA, and I had the SAME situation happen when coworkers and I were headed out for a ski trip a couple of weeks ago. "Oh, shoot! I forgot my toboggan!" They couldn't believe I owned a toboggan. I didn't understand why that would be so crazy. THEN we got to the bottom of things. You just saved me a ton of research and I have sent this link to my new MA friends. :)

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      Karen Curtis 5 years ago from Central Texas

      LOL.......thanks Scrabblemom.........looks like a warm blue one, huh?

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      scrabblemom 5 years ago

      So glad that the correct photo of a toboggan is now being shown !

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      Karen Curtis 5 years ago from Central Texas

      Thank you Daryl.....I stand corrected. I have replaced the photo with the correct version as you described.

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      Daryl 5 years ago

      the picture of the sled at the top is incorrect - a toboggan is a long runnerless wooden sled, curled up at the front.

      Also words such as centre, metre, litre and cheque are of British origin NOT French - toque and poutine were correctly refereneced as French origin.

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      Ann McLain 5 years ago

      A sled goes on the ground, people. It's a sled. That other thing's a knit cap. Shheeeez.

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      Irene 5 years ago

      I'm a Canadian from the Toronto area working on a project in NC and burst out laughing the first time I heard someone refer to a TOQUE as a Toboggan, we just ride down snowy hills on them. Of course I had to google it to see the origin of how the one word could be used for the 2 very different things and here I am. We refer to any knitted winter hat as a toque, I suspect due to the french influence even though they use the term more widely for various kinds of hats. We spell all manner of words crazy because of the french like centre, metre, litre, cheque (instead of check) so why not toque? Poutine anyone? eh?

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      KYTchr 5 years ago

      Born in KY, reared in Ohio. I never had one, just called it a hat (caps were baseball caps). Moved back to KY, husband's family calls them Tamboggans or boggans.

      In winter, my grandfather hauled logs on a huge "sled" (no runners).

      A friend from Clinton Co. KY calls pop "a cold drink" What kind of cold drink do you want? Daddy called a tall dresser a chester drawers (chest of drawers).

      The one that still bothers me today is steeple used for staple... hammer that steeple to hold the wire on the fence. Steeples are on the top of the church, hubby!!

      Dinner for lunch caused me problems when I moved back to KY, didn't pay for my lunch because the girl was taking up "Dinner money". I was thinking, "Good grief! How long is their school day".

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      alfina-nar 5 years ago

      Thanks a lot! I found this very interesting, accounting the fact that I'm a Russian who tries to teach English.

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      Karen Curtis 5 years ago from Central Texas

      In Texas, we calling shopping carts "buggies" too. The only time I've heard "stocking cap" is in Christmas stories....never in normal everyday life. LOL

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      Jeff 5 years ago

      Growing up in the heartland (KC) - we called them "Stocking Caps." Put that on Google images and see what happens.

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      Mark 5 years ago

      Always been a hat to this NC born fella. And when you ordered a Coke at the lunch counter, the person behind the counter would ask "What kind of Coke?". Could be a Sprite, Dr. Pepper, etc.

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