A Hooplehead is an idiot. He’s stupid, ignorant and illiterate.
The dim villager or the uneducated commoner.
An underling to the educated few who understand mathematics and know how to write.
Hoople by itself means something along “hobo” or “buffoon”, so Hooplehead would be a derogatory insult along those lines as well.
Other sources say that “Hoop head” was used when referring to a drug addict in the early 1900’s.
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Hooplehead gained its popularity from the 15 years old HBO-Show “Deadwood”, its storyline taking place in Dakota in the late 19th century.
The higher standing business men and leaders of the community would sometimes refer to the commoners as Hoopleheads.
There is a small town in North Dakota called Hoople, but at the time of the storyline of Deadwood, the town was no where significant enough to be the basis of a common insult.
Spread and Usage
The term is mentioned repeatedly in the movie Deadwood, and there is no information of the word being used as a common insult before the movie’s release.
Even the movie’s producer has admitted that he just chose a random word for the insult, without thinking too much of its origins.
Hooplehead is now mostly used by Deadwood fans who has adopted the term from the movie.
- Urban Dictionary – Hooplehead