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First used in reference to Lewis Cass

Attributed to Abraham Lincoln, in a speech of July 27, 1848, as pejorative reference to Lewis Cass, Michigan politician:[1]

There is one entire article of the sort I have not discussed yet; I mean the military tale you Democrats are now engaged in dovetailing onto the great Michigander.

Ostensibly coined as a blend of Michigan +‎ gander ‎(male goose, simpleton) (punning on “tale” and “(dove)tail(ing)”), later reanalyzed as Michigan + -d- (epenthetic) +‎ -er ‎(resident of).


  • IPA(key): [ˈmɪ.ʃə.ˌɡæn.dɚ]


Michigander ‎(plural Michiganders)

  1. A native or inhabitant of Michigan.
  2. (uncommon, humorous) In particular, a man from Michigan, contrasted with a Michigoose ‎(woman from Michigan).
    • 1916, Moderator-topics, volume 36, page 165:
      Where is the little Michigander or Michigoose who is plugging along, so contentedly ensconced in his bi-valve surroundings as not to be touched by even an echo of the great state meeting of his profession?
    • 1982, Michigan Natural Resources Magazine, volumes 51-52, page 77:
      From Dale E. Pasco of Owosso: "My parents were both one room school teachers and they taught it this way: I'm a Michigander, my wife is a Michigoose, our kids are Michigoslins, so what is the use."

Usage notes[edit]

Preferred but not universal endonym for residents of Michigan. A 2011 poll of Michigan residents found 58% preferred Michigander, 12% preferred Michiganian, 12% had no preference, and 11% did not like either term.[2]






  1. ^ Michigan Today News. "Talking About Words". University of Michigan News Service. September 15, 2003.
  2. ^ Poll: 'Michiganders' embrace the label