I'd always know the word "toboggan" to mean a sled. In the last couple years I've met people who insisted on calling their winter knit caps "toboggans." All of these people happened to be from either Kentucky or Tennessee. Wikipedia mentions that

In the United States south and midwest, especially Appalachia, it is often called a "toboggan".

but there's no info about origin. When and where did this usage come from?

  • The southern states call them toboggans. I am not quite sure the reason. I am from NC. My dad, from Wisconsin, insisted toboggans were sleds. – user57848 Nov 20 '13 at 17:06
  • I am from Arkansas, and my husband calls them tobogans. I call them bogans. – user58504 Nov 29 '13 at 15:56
  • I like to wear my toboggan at the beach sporting a speedo, I call it speedbogganing – user58912 Dec 4 '13 at 20:31

Etymonline.com lists this shift in the late 20's, probably because it's the type of cap you would wear while tobagganing. I imagine it was probably first called a "toboggan cap", and then eventually the "cap" was just dropped.


Chris's intuition is confirmed by the OED, which lists "toboggan-cap" among similar compound formations as "toboggan-bag" and "toboggan-chute".

protected by Community Dec 4 '13 at 22:00

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