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State names speak to the circumstances of their creation
US Official State Names
Name Etymology and State Nicknames
The fifty U.S. states have taken their names from a wide variety of languages. The names of 25 states
derive from indigenous languages of the Americas: eight come from Algonquian languages, seven from
Siouan languages (one of those by way of Illinois, an Algonquian language), three from Iroquoian
languages, one from a Uto-Aztecan language, five from other Native American languages, and one comes
from Hawaiian. The other names derive from European languages: seven come from Latin (mostly from
Latinate forms of English personal names), six come from English, five come from Spanish (and one more
from an Indigenous language by way of Spanish), and three come from French (one of those by way of
Quick Facts on State Names
The etymologies of some US state names are more obvious than others, derived from the Spanish or French tongue. Though, more than half of the US state names come from Native American tribal languages, with several still a mystery to scholars and historians.
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