Thursday, March 9, 2023

Name Origins of the Unites States + giveaway

  By Tiffany Amber Stockton

In February, we learned about carousels and their start as part of "little wars" in ancient times. You can read last month's post if you missed it.

Today, I'm going to start with the first of 5 total posts on the origins of the state names in the United States. These will be sprinkled throughout the rest of this year, not the next 4 months. So, let's go!


comes from the Choctaw word albah amo meaning thicket-clearers or plant cutters.

Alaska has ties to the Aleuts and the Russians, with the words alaxsxaq and Аляска, respectively, essentially meaning mainland.

Arizona has ancient roots to the Uto-Aztecan word ali sona-g, which was adopted by the Spaniards as Arizonac, meaning good oaks.

Arkansas is the French pronunciation of an Algonquin name for the Quapaw people, akansa.

California is truly a magical place. So magical in fact, it’s named after a fictional world invented by the author Garci Ordóñez de Montalvo, which Spanish explorers adopted when setting foot on the gold coast.

Colorado is another Spanish-influenced name that essentially means ruddy or ruddish. The name was first applied to the Colorado River for its distinctive color.

Connecticut, much like Colorado, was named for the river running through it. The word possibly stems from the Native American term quinnitukqut, meaning beside or at the long tidal river.

Delaware is also named for a body of water, but that body of water was named for Baron De la Warr, the first English governor of Virginia. The baron’s name is old French for of the war.

Florida taps into its Spanish roots by referencing Pascua florida, meaning flowering Easter, as Spanish explorers found the lush area during the holiday season. There's also a tie to the Latin word floridus, meaning strikingly beautiful.

Georgia may be known for its southern hospitality, but it’s actually named for King George II from Great Britain.

And that's all for today. If you're like me and LOVE puzzles, download this PDF for some puzzle challenge fun. You might be able to solve it on your own without reading the rest of the blogs in this set, or you can save it and add to it in future months. :)


* Which one of these states was the most fascinating to you?

* Do you live in any of these 10 states? If so, did you know this was the origin of its name?

* What do you think might be the origin of any of the other 40 states? (you'll learn about them throughout the year)

** Please do not reply via email with any comments. View the blog online and scroll down to the comments section.

Leave answers to these questions or any comments you might have on this post in the comment box below. For those of you who have stuck around this far, I'm sending a FREE autographed book to one person every month from the comments left on each of my blog posts. You never know when your comment will be a winner! Subscribe to comments so you'll know if you've won and need to get me your mailing information.

Come back on the 9th of April for my next foray into historical tidbits to share.

For those interested in my "fictional" life as an author and industry news about other authors, subscribe to my quarterly newsletter. Receive a FREE omitted chapter from my book, A Grand Design, just for subscribing!

Tiffany Amber Stockton has been crafting and embellishing stories since childhood, when she was accused of having a very active imagination and cited with talking entirely too much. Today, she has honed those skills to become an award-winning, best-selling author and speaker who is also a professional copywriter/copyeditor. She loves to share life-changing products and ideas with others to help improve their lives in a variety of ways.

She lives with her husband and fellow author, Stuart Vaughn Stockton, along with their two children and four cats in southeastern Kentucky. In the 20 years she's been a professional writer, she has sold twenty-six (26) books so far and is represented by Tamela Murray of the Steve Laube Agency. You can find her on Facebook and GoodReads.


  1. How interesting! I love learning new facts that I can share with my 3rd graders. I can't wait to learn the origin of the other 40 states.

    1. Susan, I'm late responding. Not sure where I went last month, but glad I could share something that will be fun for your 3rd graders. As a former teacher of 5th grade (and many other grades), this warms my heart. :)

    2. And Susan, congratulations! You're the winner this month of the FREE book. Please email me at legacywithbooks [at] gmail [dot] com with your mailing address, so I can mail out your book. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

  2. Thanks for posting today. It struck me as funny that California was named for a fictional place!

    1. Connie, funny and fitting, don't you think? Those folks out that way do live in their own little world. Lol!

  3. Interesting! I don't live in any of those states. I don't think I knew the origin of any of them, except for maybe Georgia.

    1. Janet, we're bound to hit your state at some point this year. :) Be on the lookout for it! I knew only a handful of the entire 50 when I did the research, so this has been fun.