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Nickname and Origin of the Names of the 50 States


Have you ever wondered where the names of the 50 U.S. states came from, or what the nicknames of the states were. Below you will find a list of the 50 United States that includes their nicknames and where there name came from.

Nicknames and Origin of the 50 States in the United States

Alabama 
Nickname: Yellowhammer State
Origin Of The Name: From Alabama River by early European explorers and named “Alibamu” after the local Indian tribe

Alaska 
Nickname: The state is commonly called “The Last Frontier” or “Land of the Midnight Sun
Origin Of The Name: Corruption of Aleut word meaning “great land” or “that which the sea breaks against”

Arizona 
Nickname: Grand Canyon State
Origin Of The Name: Uncertain. Perhaps from the O’odham Indian word for “little spring”

Arkansas 
Nickname: The Natural State
Origin Of The Name: From the Quapaw Indians

California
Nickname: Golden State
Origin Of The Name: From a book, Las Sergas de Esplandián, by Garcia Ordóñez de Montalvo, c. 1500

Colorado 
Nickname: Centennial State
Origin Of The Name: From the Spanish, “ruddy” or “red”

Connecticut 
Nickname: Constitution State; Nutmeg State
Origin Of The Name: From an Indian word (Quinnehtukqut) meaning “beside the long tidal river”

Delaware 
Nickname: Diamond State; First State; Small Wonder
Origin Of The Name: From Delaware River and Bay; named in turn for Sir Thomas West, Baron De La Warr

Florida 
Nickname: Sunshine State
Origin Of The Name: From the Spanish Pascua Florida, meaning “feast of flowers”

Georgia 
Nickname: Peach State, Empire State of the South
Origin Of The Name: In honor of George II of England

Hawaii 
Nickname: Aloha State
Origin Of The Name: The islands may have been named by Hawaii Loa, their traditional discoverer. Or they may have been named after Hawaii or Hawaiki, the traditional home of the Polynesians.

Idaho 
Nickname: Gem State
Origin Of The Name: An invented name whose meaning is unknown.

Illinois 
Nickname: Prairie State
Origin Of The Name: Algonquin for “tribe of superior men”

Indiana 
Nickname: Hoosier State
Origin Of The Name: Meaning “land of Indians”

Iowa 
Nickname: Hawkeye State
Origin Of The Name: From the Iowa River which was named after the Ioway Indian tribe

Kansas 
Nickname: Sunflower State; Jayhawk State
Origin Of The Name: From a Sioux word meaning “people of the south wind”

Kentucky 
Nickname: Bluegrass State
Origin Of The Name: From an Iroquoian word “Ken-tah-ten” meaning “land of tomorrow”

Louisiana
Nickname: Pelican State
Origin Of The Name: In honor of Louis XIV of France

Maine 
Nickname: Pine Tree State
Origin Of The Name: First used to distinguish the mainland from the offshore islands. It has been considered a compliment to Henrietta Maria, queen of Charles I of England. She was said to have owned the province of Mayne in France.

Maryland 
Nickname: Free State; Old Line State
Origin Of The Name: In honor of Henrietta Maria

Massachusetts 
Nickname: Bay State; Old Colony State
Origin Of The Name: From Massachusett tribe of Native Americans, meaning “at or about the great hill”

Michigan 
Nickname: Wolverine State
Origin Of The Name: From Indian word “Michigana” meaning “great or large lake”

Minnesota
Nickname: North Star State; Gopher State; Land of 10,000 Lakes
Origin Of The Name: From a Dakota Indian word meaning “sky-tinted water”

Mississippi
Nickname: Magnolia State
Origin Of The Name: From an Indian word meaning “Father of Waters”

Missouri 
Nickname: Show-me State
Origin Of The Name: Named after the Missouri Indian tribe. “Missouri” means “town of the large canoes.”

Montana 
Nickname: Treasure State
Origin Of The Name: From the Spanish word meaning “mountain.”

Nebraska
Nickname: Cornhusker State; Beef State
Origin Of The Name: From an Oto Indian word meaning “flat water”

Nevada 
Nickname: Sagebrush State; Silver State; Battle Born State
Origin Of The Name: Spanish: “snowcapped”

New Hampshire
Nickname: Granite State
Origin Of The Name: From the English county of Hampshire

New Jersey 
Nickname: Garden State
Origin Of The Name: From the Channel Isle of Jersey

New Mexico
Nickname: Land of Enchantment
Origin Of The Name: From Mexico, “place of Mexitli,” an Aztec god or leader

New York
Nickname: Empire State
Origin Of The Name: In honor of the Duke of York

North Carolina 
Nickname: Tar Heel State
Origin Of The Name: In honor of Charles I of England

North Dakota 
Nickname: Sioux State; Flickertail State; Peace Garden State; Rough Rider State
Origin Of The Name: From the Sioux tribe, meaning “allies”

Ohio
Nickname: Buckeye State
Origin Of The Name: From an Iroquoian word meaning “great river”

Oklahoma
Nickname: Sooner State
Origin Of The Name: From two Choctaw Indian words meaning “red people”

Oregon 
Nickname: Beaver State
Origin Of The Name: It is generally accepted that the name, first used by Jonathan Carver in 1778, was taken from the writings of Maj. Robert Rogers, an English army officer.

Pennsylvania 
Nickname: Keystone State
Origin Of The Name: In honor of Adm. Sir William Penn, father of William Penn. It means “Penn’s Woodland.”

Rhode Island 
Nickname: The Ocean State
Origin Of The Name: From the Greek Island of Rhodes

South Carolina 
Nickname: Palmetto State
Origin Of The Name: In honor of Charles I of England

South Dakota 
Nickname: Mount Rushmore State; Coyote State
Origin Of The Name: From the Sioux tribe, meaning “allies”

Tennessee 
Nickname: Volunteer State
Origin Of The Name: Of Cherokee origin; the exact meaning is unknown

Texas 
Nickname: Lone Star State
Origin Of The Name: From an Indian word meaning “friends”

Utah 
Nickname: Beehive State
Origin Of The Name: From the Ute tribe, meaning “people of the mountains”

Vermont 
Nickname: Green Mountain State
Origin Of The Name: From the French “vert mont,” meaning “green mountain”

Virginia 
Nickname: The Old Dominion; Mother of Presidents
Origin Of The Name: In honor of Elizabeth “Virgin Queen” of England

State of Washington 
Nickname: Evergreen State
Origin Of The Name: In honor of George Washington

West Virginia 
Nickname: Mountain State
Origin Of The Name: In honor of Elizabeth, “Virgin Queen” of England

Wisconsin 
Nickname: Badger State
Origin Of The Name: French corruption of an Indian word whose meaning is disputed

Wyoming 
Nickname: Equality State
Origin Of The Name: From the Delaware Indian word, meaning “mountains and valleys alternating”; the same as the Wyoming Valley in Pennsylvania.