Saturday, September 9, 2023

State Name Origins - Part IV

   By Tiffany Amber Stockton

In August, my post focused on the invention and minor evolution of the sewing machine, showcasing how it revolutionized the clothing industry. You can read last month's post if you missed it.

Today, it's time for the next 10 state name history stories. Aren't you excited? Has your state already been covered? If not, there are only 10 more after this group, so it's certain to be covered soon.


One thing I found interesting with this list is it's almost a 50/50 split of the state names starting with a letter of the alphabet from either the first half or second half of the 26 letters. Montana is the 26th state out of 50 and the last one with an "M." The remaining 24 states come from the latter half of the alphabet. It would have been fun to see 25 of the states start with letters in the first half of the alphabet and the other 25 from the second half, but we're close!

New Mexico is self-explanatory and based on the Spanish Nuevo Mexico. Although, did you know the Aztecs coined the word Mexihco for their ancient capital?

New York was named for the Duke of York and the future King James II.

North Carolina is named after a monarch, King Charles II, as Carolus is the proper Latin version of Charles.

North Dakota describes the northern land of the Dakota people, but it also means friendly or allies.

Ohio comes from a body of water, this time, the Ohio River. The Seneca Native Americans billed it as a good river.

Oklahoma comes from the Choctaw word meaning "red people."

Oregon has an origin where some scholars point to Algonquin as the source.

Pennsylvania was named after Admiral William Penn, under Charles II. It literally means Penn’s Woods.

Rhode Island has multiple name theories, including the idea that Dutch explorer Adrian Block applied the name Roodt Eylandt, meaning red island, to reflect the red cliffs of the region. Alternatively, it may come from the Greek island of Rhodes.

Tennessee comes from the Cherokee village name ta’nasi, but the meaning is unclear.

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 the 10 featured states this month? If so, do you have any other unique tidbits about your state?

* What do you think might be the origin of any of the final 10 states?

** This note is for our email readers. 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 October for my next foray into historical tidbits to share.

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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. Yes, I live in North Carolina, and have lived here my whole life. I've always taught my 3rd graders about how NC was named, as well as how we became known as the Tar Heels.

  2. Thank you for posting. I'm sure there are more Native American derivatives coming.