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Toboggan: Sled, Hat, and Slide

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Kara in Charlotte, North Carolina, was shopping in New Brunswick, Canada, hoping to find a warm hat. She asked for a toboggan, but the store clerk was incredulous. Depending on where you’re from toboggan can mean either “a long, knitted hat” or “a long, flat-bottomed sled.” The English word toboggan comes from similar words for this type of sled in the Algonquian family of languages, first adopted by speakers of Canadian French, then passed on into English. The term toboggan hat or toboggan cap referred to the type of headwear one might wear while riding such a sled, possibly because of a resemblance between the curved shape of the hat and the curved front of the sled. This is part of a complete episode.

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