Thursday, November 9, 2023

State Name Origins - Part V

     By Tiffany Amber Stockton

In October, my post focused on the world-famous and first ever of its kind surgery in 1809 to remove a tumor from a woman thought to merely be pregnant. You can read last month's post if you missed it.

Today, it's time for the final 10 state name history stories. I can tell you're sitting on the edge of your seat, anxious with anticipation at seeing these posts come to a close. :)


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!

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

South Dakota, like North Dakota has the word Dakota which describes the Dakota people, but it also means friendly or allies.

Tennessee (was included in group IV)

Texas is another old Spanish name from the word tejas, meaning friends or allies.

Utah has a short, spunky sound from the Spanish yuta, the name given to indigenous Uto-Aztecan people of the mountains.

Vermont has an elegant French sound and meaning – mont vert means green mountain in French.

Virginia is a Latin nod to sovereign Elizabeth I, the Virgin Queen.

Washington is named for President George Washington. His surname means estate of a man named Wassa in Old English.

West Virginia is simply the western separation from the original Virginia colony, so it has the same origin as Virginia.

Wisconsin may come from the Miami word meskonsing, which was spelled by the French as mescousing and then shifted to ouisconsin.

Wyoming has origins from the Algonquian wewamink, meaning at the big river flat. There is another theory, however, that states Wyoming comes from a word for mountains and valleys alternating.

And that's a wrap of all 50 states with their known origins. If you're like me and LOVE puzzles but haven't done so yet, download this PDF for some puzzle challenge fun.


* 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?

* Which state origin of all 50 states surprised you the most? Why?

** 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 each month 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. I thought it was interesting that both Texas and Dakota meant friend. I lived in Texas as a child.And know I live in Oklahoma only a few hours from Texas. Cindy Huff

    1. Cindy, we so often take our state names for granted and don't even give a thought to the origins. We simply memorize them and have a vague familiarity with where they're located. Even though this showcase was only a minimal coverage of those origins, I too enjoyed learning about the name meanings. :)

  2. Thanks for posting today. I enjoyed this tour through the state names. Vermont is the state I was born and grew up in. I can't think of any unique tidbits but when I think of Vermont I think of its groves of sugar maples which give such brilliant color most fall seasons. It wasn't so good this year, I was told.

    1. Connie, Vermont maple syrup has a long history of gracing many breakfast tables. :) That's a notable tidbit for certain. :)