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23 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.

  22. Kage:

    I’ve heard watch cap, beanie and toboggan all used for the same cap. The term watch cap used by military and navel active and retired. Beanie used by children and women and Toboggan use by civilians and retail marketers. The Beanie is a very simple head cover, the watch cap can be rolled down to give more coverage and the same with the Toboggan but a Toboggan may also have some decorative ball attached to the top. I don’t care what a person calls it they are all basically the same thing. Don’t get your panties in a wad, just be warm and fuzzy.

  23. Texyz:

    To native Texans the winter headwear has always been toboggan. But in the cities we got a LOT of transplants (crossing both borders) that remain ignorant to this common word.

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