Appalachia Appalachian Dialect

Toboggans…You Wear Them On Your Head Right?


The girls have been crocheting scarves and afghans for several years now, but they recently learned how to make toboggans or boggins as they’re often called around here.

They’ve been sporting them around Brasstown and more than a few folks have noticed. A few even said they’d pay the girls to make them one. Needless to say, there has been lots of talk of toboggans around the Blind Pig house.

It was only after I started the Blind Pig that I realized not everyone thinks of a toboggan as something you wear on your head. Many folks are only familiar with a toboggan being something you ride down a snowy hill on.

A few years back I brought up the discussion of toboggans and my cousin Clint left this comment:

“I remember leaving the house for school one cold morning when I was a young boy. I usually walked with two neighbor girls who were older than me. I didn’t have a hat on that day and one of the girls said something about it. My mom said “he lost his toboggan.” One of the girls looked at me and said, “you lost your sled?”

Clint’s mother grew up with Granny in the Culberson area of Cherokee County, but Clint was raised up north where his parents moved for work. I just love that his mother still uses the language of her youth…even if she does occasionally confuse the neighbor girls 🙂


Subscribe for FREE and get a daily dose of Appalachia in your inbox

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    Rosamary Christiansen
    January 30, 2021 at 10:37 am

    Does Chitter still make Toboggins for sale?
    I have a heck of a time finding anything to fit my big head! Now that I’m going on 70 and lost half of my thick head of hair, I need a toboggin to keep warm.

  • Reply
    Devonna Hisel
    January 30, 2019 at 11:01 am

    I live in rural Jackson County, KY. In one small area of the county, they are called soogins. Only the small population calls them that. Any idea where this word may have originated?

  • Reply
    Mary Lou McKillip
    December 6, 2018 at 12:24 pm

    Tipper I always been a sticklers for a hair do I have thick hair and can’t stand anything in my head to mess up my hair. Am I one in millions or just a pressy lady. I told my first hubby if I went before he did not to open my coffin because they might not have my hair fixed pretty. That might be classified in the nut section near told Truman that because I have mellowed somewhat about my hair do’s

  • Reply
    December 5, 2018 at 7:45 pm

    We Called them Sock- Toboggans, or sock hats….so warm , but oh tis true that unruly hair static when you pulled them off. When we were very young we wore scarfs…or had car coats with hoods… did any of you ever call them car coats? Asked my husband what he thought a toboggan was , …said a sled :)…. getting colder here , hoping for a BiG snow .:)

  • Reply
    Sam Ensley
    December 5, 2018 at 5:30 pm

    Are the girls going to sell any of their boggins?

    • Reply
      December 6, 2018 at 6:37 am

      Sam-yes they’ve been selling the boggins 🙂 I’ll let you know when Chitter gets them added to her shop-or you can email me about them if you want too.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    December 5, 2018 at 1:26 pm

    It was snowing here while ago! I tried to head it off your way but I think it’s turning back.

  • Reply
    Karen Brown
    December 5, 2018 at 1:17 pm

    I still say boggin even though I’ve lived in Indiana since I was 8 years old.

  • Reply
    Patsy Small
    December 5, 2018 at 10:01 am

    I’m still wearing a toboggin that I won in a drawing from your site a number of years ago! I call it

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    December 5, 2018 at 9:33 am

    and a GoPro mount!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    December 5, 2018 at 9:31 am

    Tell those girls they need to make a boggin with built in bluetooth microphone and speakers. They could make a fortune selling those.

  • Reply
    December 5, 2018 at 9:00 am

    Boggins is the name my family from eastern Kentucky used. My kids, alas, simply refer to them as “hats.”

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    December 5, 2018 at 9:00 am

    Wrong! I don’t wear a toboggan on my head! I don’t have one. Dusty has several. UNC, Panthers, etc. All his are too small. They keep slipping back up above my years. A couple of knits and purls too small I guess. I must have a big head. When I was little I had to cuff them up. Now I tear them up trying to keep them down.
    When I was growing up we called them boggins. When I came here some folks pronounce it a little different. Sounds like bawe-gin. When I first heard it I didn’t understand but I figgered it out cause I’m fmart.

  • Reply
    December 5, 2018 at 8:52 am

    Boggins were expensive and hard to come by when I was growing up, so Mom tied a scarf on our head when we went outside. She tied it under our chin, tight enough to strangle us. Mom had earaches all her life and blamed some of them on not covering her ears in cold and windy weather.

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    December 5, 2018 at 8:43 am

    This is interesting — we only called them toboggans if they were long enough to hang down and had a tassel on the end.
    The hats like the lovely one in the picture were called simply caps or hats.

  • Reply
    December 5, 2018 at 8:31 am

    I worked with an older lady who said one should always have toboggans on their head in cold weather, as your body heat goes out the top of your head. Medical research debunks this, but I tend to think this older lady was onto something her family had taught down through the years. Sometimes out old ways are better than the medical theories which change every few years. We have a lot of circulation in our heads that is cooled speedily in frigid weather.

    It takes a good amount of talent to make a toboggan that looks that good on that pretty head. I enjoy when you bring your family pictures onto the blog. Those girls have some amazing talents that their grandparents probably contributed to.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    December 5, 2018 at 8:26 am

    Very rarely if ever heard them called toe-boggins. Just boggins to us. I think I was probably about 10 years old or so before I had one, maybe even older. Found out in later years that in terms of conserving body heat covering the head is one of the more effective things to do. But I generally only wear one if temperatures are in the 20’s or below.

    Sounds like the girls are on to something.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    December 5, 2018 at 8:09 am

    Nice picture with the star right over Chatter’s head and that’s a lovely toboggan she made! There is no better way to stay warm in the winter than wearing a toboggan. I’ve even worn one in the house when the weather is really cold!

  • Reply
    Harry Adams
    December 5, 2018 at 7:19 am

    Coming from the SC Piedmont, we always referred to toboggans as stocking caps. I was introduced to toboggan after moving north. I had to ask what they were talking about as I thought of a sled.

  • Reply
    Beth Durham
    December 5, 2018 at 6:11 am

    Just out of curiosity, how do you pronounce toboggan? ‘Cause on the Plateau we say “toe-boggan” and you know I’m just always comparing our two dialects!
    My mother (and grandmother and great-grandmother) thought you just couldn’t live through the winter if you didn’t “tie up your head” so we were put in toboggans our whole life. As I got a little older and they weren’t especially fashionable I’d try to take it off as soon as I got out of sight – but you’d better not be caught with your head uncovered in cold weather or you were goin’ to be in a heap of trouble!

    • Reply
      December 5, 2018 at 6:59 am

      Beth-we say toe-boggin too! And yes Granny is always fussing about us going out in the cold without one on our head-especially if we’ve washed our hair the same day 🙂

      • Reply
        Ed Ammons
        December 5, 2018 at 9:01 am

        If it was a toe-boggin wouldn’t you wear it on your feet?

  • Reply
    December 5, 2018 at 6:08 am

    Boggins, is what we always called them, never wore them much myself had to be extremely cold, always put so much static electricity in your hair drove me crazy, just ballcaps or a hooded jacket.

  • Leave a Reply