Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Literal Meaning of State Names

Most of us, in the course of growing up and getting a basic education, learned the meaning of our state names. For instance, growing up in Pittsburgh, I learned that Pennsylvania literally means Penn's Woods - William Penn being one of the founders of the Commonwealth*. Now I live in another commonwealth - Virginia - the name of which means, Country of the Virgin**.

If you never had the opportunity to learn the literal meaning of your state's (or Canadian province's) name, you may be interested in this article from Simplemost - This Map Shows the Literal Meaning of Every State Name.

Of course, there's a difference between the literal translation of the state's name and the realistic translation, which may differ in actual linguistic accuracy.

For instance ...

The literal meaning of Texas is Friend; however, a more up-to-date translation might be Heavily Armed;

New Jersey was named after the English Channel island of Jersey, but might actually mean, What the $%@¢ You Lookin' At?;

Colorado means Sandstone Soil, but lately might actually translate as Primo Weed; and,

Canada's Yukon literally means Great River, although a better translation might be Freeze Your Cojones.

Those are a few of my suggestions ... do you have any others? Leave a comment.

Have a good day, no matter how you translate it. More thoughts tomorrow.


* For more on the difference between a "state" and a "commonwealth," go here. In any case, I don't seem to be sharing in much of that common wealth.

* Not applicable in all cases.


Duckbutt said...

That was an interesting find! Very informative.

Mike said...

I never knew that Missouri was the dugout canoe state. It also could be called two blue dots in a sea of red state.

Kristen Drittsekkdatter said...

Milky water state? Someone's been watering the milk. Bad buttermilk.

Anonymous said...

"The Meadow" is a lot better than "Dark and Bloody Ground" for Kentucky.

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

"Thicket Clearers" for Alabama. Rough yard work.

koi seo said...

That was an interesting find! Very informative.