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Cheesehead is a nickname in the United States for a person from Wisconsin[1] or for a fan of the Green Bay Packers NFL football franchise. The term has also been used as a derogatory nickname for Dutch people.


The use of the term "cheesehead" as a derogatory word for Wisconsinites originated with Illinois football and baseball fans to refer to opposing Wisconsin sports fans. The term, however, was quickly embraced by Wisconsinites and is now a point of pride.[2]

The use of "Cheesehead" (Dutch: kaaskop) as slanderous term towards Dutch people[3] started as early as World War II, when German soldiers were known to call the Dutch "cheeseheads".[3] The term "cheesehead" was used in a derogatory manner in the 1969 novel Papillon to describe the jury that sentenced Papillon to life in prison.[4][5]

The cheesehead hat[edit]

A Packers fan wearing a "cheesehead" hat

Rose Bruno first saw a cardboard "cheesehead" hat at a Milwaukee Brewers vs. Chicago White Sox game in Chicago in 1987 worn by fellow Milwaukeean Amerik Wojciechowski.[6][7] Ralph Bruno later made the first one out of foam while he was cutting up his mother's couch. It was made popular by center-fielder Rick Manning, who saw the hat while playing.[8][9] Bruno started a business to sell the hats as novelties. The "Cheesehead" trademark is owned by Foamation, Inc. of St. Francis, Wisconsin, which began manufacture of the wearable, foam "Cheesehead" in 1987. It has also been referred to as a "Cheese Hat" since it is legally a hat.[10]

In 2013, sports fans of Chicago replied to their rivals by wearing cheese graters.[11]


  1. ^ Kapler, Joseph, Jr. "On Wisconsin Icons: When You Say 'Wisconsin', What Do You Say?" Wisconsin Magazine of History, vol. 85, no. 3 (Spring 2002), pp. 18-31.
  2. ^ Foamation: About Us, archived from the original on 2009-03-02.
  3. ^ a b "What is a Cheesehead?". Wise Geek. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  4. ^ Prescott, Peter, Encounters with American Culture (1963-1972), Transaction Publishers, p. 218, ISBN 1-4128-0496-5. "... and the stupiditiy of a dozen "cheesehead" jurors who couldn't care less."
  5. ^ Charrière, Henri. Papillion. France: Hart-Davis, MacGibbon Ltd. p. 3. ISBN 0-06-093479-4. "Look at them, there in front of you. Can you see them clearly, those dozen cheeseheads brought to Paris from some distant village?"
  6. ^ Foamation, Inc. v. Wedeward Enterprises, Inc., 947 F.Supp. 1287 (E.D. Wis. 1996)
  7. ^ Cigelske, Tim (September 8, 2005), "When I was 30: Michael Bednar: Cheeseheads were spreading", MKE, archived from the original on August 1, 2007.
  8. ^ "Greg Garber News, Videos, Photos, and PodCasts - ESPN".
  9. ^ "State honors cheesehead hat creator".
  10. ^ Prunty, Brendan (January 19, 2008), "The Origin of the 'Cheesehead'", The Star-Ledger.
  11. ^ Cheddar shredder - Chicago Tribune, 26 December 2013

External links[edit]