What Are People From New Hampshire Called?
It's been an age-old question for me: what are people from New Hampshire called? I've never known. My friends and I used to make stuff up and wonder what other people said. Everything I've ever thought of sounds clunky or old-fashioned.
The obvious first guess is New Hampshireman. Sure, if you're General John Stark standing on a hillside calling to his men before the battle of their lives. I can feel myself clenching my fist and pounding it to the sky. “I'm a New Hampshireman! Live free or die!” And then we recognize that the alternative to “New Hampshireman” is New Hampshirewoman. And now that it is the modern age, I imagine we'll have New Hampshire-every-other-gender that people identify as now. Just toss the whole thing and avoid potential conflicts entirely.
New Hampshirean is scientific and precise. Unfortunately, it's also science-fiction-y. Like an alien species. Doesn't nail the LFOD attitude one bit. Though we're a weird bunch, aren't we?
New Hampshire-er is too hard to say. But it's fun.
According to the internet, the consensus is that the demonym for people from New Hampshire is New Hampshirite. Ite. Sigh. Sounds barbaric. Like a Luddite. Or a Canaanite. I guess someone from Canaan, New Hampshire could call themselves a Canaanite. I'm a Rochester-er. Damn, there we are again with the verbal monstrosities.
It turns out that the New Hampshire government actually differentiates a New Hampshire native (a New Hampshirite, if you will) with someone who isn't. Here's what it says in the official statutes:
3:23 New Hampshire Native. –
I. A New Hampshire native is someone who was born in the state of New Hampshire or someone born to a mother domiciled in the state of New Hampshire at the time of his or her birth.
II. Nothing in this section shall affect official records.
III. No person who in good faith proclaims himself or herself to be a New Hampshire native pursuant to this section shall be charged with perjury.
What I want to know is what happens if someone proclaims himself to be a New Hampshire native in terrible faith. Will he get the book thrown at him? Well, I'll clear the air here and admit that I'm a got-danged Flatlander, myself. Born in the state I love to hate, Massachusetts. I'm a Massachusettser, I guess. The proper demonym is Massachusettsan. So terrible! This demonym game is messy stuff.
Anyway, what's a Flatlander? That's the derogatory term for people who aren't from New Hampshire, but end up moving here. New Hampshire is known for being rocky and granite-y and tough and, well, Flatlanders are from flat places. Ignore the fact that much of New Hampshire is also flat; it's just a term some rugged old yankees joke about with wimpy tourist types from city-states south of the border.
Brendan Smith, a mainstay at the Weirs Times, has worn the Flatlander badge of honor for years. He's written extensively on the subject:
Now I have been here for nearly thirty years and, even though that is about how long I lived in New York, I am still, sometimes affectionately called, other times not so much, a Flatlander.
It seems even if you were born two feet across the line in another state and you were sent, at the moment of your birth, by pneumatic tube to the most northern section of New Hampshire and you lived to be one hundred years old and you never left the state again, you will always be a Flatlander.
So be it. I wasn't born here, but I am New Hampshire's adopted son. Wouldn't have it any other way. But "Flatlander" is silly. I live on a hill, myself. And I'll take on any grandpa that thinks he's tougher than me because he lives in a trailer in Pittsburg and still watches television with an antenna. But we'll have to do something about this “New Hampshirite” thing.
It's the twenty-first century. It's time for an update. You can say a lot with a little. With that in mind, I propose the following:
NH'er. Pronounciation: en-aitch-er. Definition: someone who lives in New Hampshire.
It's simple. It's catchy, I daresay. It's got the easy -er. It's not rocks in the mouth. It's hip, man. Hashtag that badboy. And it's all-encompassing. Finally, New Hampshirites and Flatlanders can unite under one common banner and live peacefully in the place we all love. I dig it. I'm an NH'er. How about you?