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For other uses, see Hoser (disambiguation).

Hoser or hose-head is both a slang term and a derogatory term, originating from Canada and used primarily by those imitating Canadians.[1] It is not often used by Canadians, but it is sometimes used as "typical" Canadian slang by others. The term "hoser" gained popularity from the comedic skits by Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas (also known as Bob and Doug McKenzie) in SCTV’s "The Great White North" segments.[2] The characters also used the verb 'to hose' as a synonym for 'to swindle'.[3]


The origin of the term is unclear. The Oxford English Dictionary records the first use in writing as being a 1981 Toronto Star article about the McKenzie brothers, and there is no clear evidence that the term was in use before then. Nonetheless, the term has spawned several popular false etymologies.[4]

The most popular origin story holds that in outdoor ice hockey before ice resurfacers, the losing team in a hockey game would have to hose down the rink after a game to make the ice smooth again. Thus the term "hoser" being synonymous with "loser". Another story holds that the term referred to farmers of the Canadian prairies, who would siphon gasoline from farming vehicles with a hose during the Great Depression of the 1930s.[4]

The term "Hoser" was used frequently on the popular U.S. sitcom How I Met Your Mother in relation to main character Robin Scherbatsky, who was a native of Canada.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Rawlings-Way, Charles; Karneef, Natalie (2007). Toronto. Lonely Planet Publications. p. 20. ISBN 978-1-74059-835-4. Retrieved 2010-12-22. 
  2. ^ Raymond, Eric S (1999). The new hacker's dictionary. MIT Press. p. 249. ISBN 0-262-18178-9. Retrieved 2010-12-22. 
  3. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNRlcjz3acU
  4. ^ a b Sean Hutchinson (July 1, 2013). "Where Does the Word "Hoser" Come From?". Mental Floss. Retrieved December 2, 2013.