When Roger Williams crossed the Seekonk River to found Providence, the Narragansetts greeted him with “What cheer, netop?” A common greeting in the 17th century, “What cheer?” or “What news of cheer do you bring?” is similar to a 21st century expression, “What’s new?” “Netop” is a Narragansett word for friend.
Ever since the Narragansetts are said to have hailed Roger Williams with “What cheer, netop?” the phrase “What Cheer” has been quintessentially Rhode Island: you can find it on street signs and storefronts, and it’s even the motto of Providence. Discover your history on What Cheer Day!
There’s even a cool T-shirt, after the jump.
Available at What Cheer Antiques and Vintage.