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21 comments on this post.
  1. Mim Carrington:

    When I was a kid we called knitted hats ‘beanies'; this was in the mid-late 1970s in Canberra, Australia… so maybe not the sk8erboyz fault (although they are probably responsible for a large amount of other language demolition).

  2. ~ Sil in Corea:

    “Bean” seems to be a British term for “head” or “person.” I originated ‘north of Beantown,’ also called ‘Downeast,’ where a lot of old Brit slang still lurks. “She bonked him on the bean,” for example.

  3. Nancy:

    Very common here in northeastern North Carolina — in fact, no other term is used that I know of

  4. Dave:

    In western Virginia we also called knitted caps tobboggans. I never knew it meant anything else until I went to university.

  5. Brian:

    I’ve always known it to be a hat. That’s what it was always called when I was a kid. Never knew it to be anything different.

  6. Eddie:

    I had an experience where I used the word in reference to a hat, and my friends AND my husband laughed at me hysterically as if they thought I’d lost my mind. The funny part is I didn’t argue as I second-guessed my own sanity. I haven’t owned or worn a toboggan since I was a kid nor used the word in a conversation ( I live in the desert southwest). I really did wonder if I had completely misunderstood the word as a kid and had just never been corrected as an adult. I did make my friends eat crow.

  7. joe:

    The thing you slide on is called a sled.

  8. george scotton:

    Using toboggan, to mean a knit cap, is a bastardization of the word toque, meaning a knit cap.

  9. Jason:

    I’m from CA originally, but live in VA in the Blue Ridge mountains now. I have never heard this term until I started wearing my beanie this winter and it seems that everyone here calls them a ‘boggan or toboggan. I asked a few people the reason why they called it that since to me its a sled and nothing else and no one knew. Anyhow, thanks for the write up. It was a good explanation and makes sense now.

    PS Born SoCal, raised mostly in NorCal. Hella is definitely a NorCal word. No one down south says it :)

  10. J. Me.:

    Agree with George. Toboggan is a sled for using in the snow. To use the word for a cap is born out of ignorance and illiteracy. Toboggans are fun to ride on, and those from snowy regions know it. The South got confused, maybe they never used a real toboggan, so they made up something to match the name. Just like when they think they mash buttons, ha! I mash potatoes, I PRESS buttons.

  11. Max Sped:

    A long knitted cap has always been a “toboggan”..the little round cap that is usually worn on the crown of your head is a “beanie”.. it’s sometimes used as head wear in initiations. Max

  12. Cynthia:

    I recently moved to SC from the Northeast and just heard the word toboggan referring to a knit cap. I had never heard that term before. Where I came from a toboggan was a sled and a knit hat was a scully.

  13. Random Canuck:

    Wool + Knitted + Head shape = Touque.

    You Yanks are all ill in the bean.

  14. Cameille Hanna-Holmstrom:

    I am currently reading a book where the author has been calling a hat a toboggan. I actually had to look up this definition because I’ve never heard them called this before. Being from Canada we usually call winter hats touques, so I thought this was really funny, although I do know that most Americans don’t even know what a touque is….as you say,again..go figure! Lol

  15. Kay:

    It does cause a little confusion in the northern states as well. When I called it a toboggan in New Hampshire, I was also corrected and laughed at by my son’s wife as well , I soon learned there was quite a few things different between the North and the South’s thinking but of course I had my son to straighten her out. Lol

  16. Max:

    I grew up in North Carolina and we all referred to them as toboggans. Since moving elsewhere I have yet to meet anyone else who calls it that, though it is firmly ingrained in my mind.

  17. Sandra:

    Thanks, the shortening from Toboggan hat makes sense of the otherwise confusing!! Of course here in Canuck-land a knitted hat is a toque, and a watchcap is a specific type of toque (navy or black, tight fitting, rib knit and worn with a folded cuff)

  18. Jody Hutcheson:

    I have always used toboggan for stocking cap. Everyone I know does however, my nephew went to Chicago for college and his roommates made fun of him. They said “You’re putting a sled on your head?”

  19. Stephanie:

    Before tonight I had no idea there was a sled called a Toboggan. lol I’m from TN. For me its always been head wear. Beanie’s are short. Toboggans are long and folded up.

  20. Sharon Lee Gates:

    I am born and reared in West by God Virginia. We all call a knit cap a toboggan and so did our parents and grandparents back to time out of mind. Just because YOU never hear of a cap called a toboggan doesn’t make nary a bit of difference, I reckon.

  21. Barbara:

    Sounds as if the original meaning of toboggan for a hat is what I grew up recognizing as a stocking cap.

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