The family nickname of Eric Cartwright (Dan Blocker), a large, 280-pound but gentle rancher’s son on the western drama BONANZA/NBC/1959-73.
Hoss was the second child of Ben Cartwright (Lorne Greene) who lived on the Ponderosa Ranch near Virginia City in the Nevada Territory of the late 19th century. As Eric once said, “Most people just call me Hoss.”
His nickname was derived from an old Swedish mountain expression which meant “big, friendly man.” His uncle Gunnar had suggested the name to Ben’s second wife, Inger Borgstrom (Inga Swenson) who was killed by Indians soon after Hoss’ birth.
Note: On the NBC TV-Movie Bonanza: The Return (1993) the hefty actor Brian Leckner played the role of Josh Cartwright. His resemblance to Dan Blocker earned him the nickname “Hoss” when he played high school football.