Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Wed Apr 6 01:28:52 UTC 2005

>HDAS implies that the word is from the cartoon character, which first
>appeared in 1923, with the first example of "hooplehead" being from
>1979. That would make Swearengen's term anachronistic. That wouldn't
>be surprising, but might the scriptwriters be drawing on another
>usage unknown to my reference books?

"Hoople" meant a [toy] hoop, apparently. Likely irrelevant IMHO.

The Hoople name in the comic strip dates from 1921 apparently: the Major
first appeared in 1921 or 1922, I think.

There were a bunch of Hooples in Walsh County in the NE corner of Dakota
Territory according to 1885 census record on the Web. They apparently gave
as birthplaces such exotic regions as Minnesota and Canada. There is a town
or locality named Hoople in the same county of ND now, how old I don't know.

If the expression wasn't made up out of nothing at all for TV, perhaps it
was invented (back when, or recently) to refer to "those grotesque buffoons
and degenerates over in the far end of the territory"?

-- Doug Wilson

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