map shows meaning of every state name
Expedia Canada

Map Shows the Literal Meaning of Every State's Name

Have you ever been to Dugout Canoes or Milky Water? Maybe you think you've never heard of these places in the USA, but chances are you have. You might even live there.

This Expedia Canada map shows the literal meaning of every state name in the United States and some areas of Canada.

Per the infographic, "Dugout Canoes" is Missouri, "Milky Water" is Minnesota, "Flowery Easter" is Florida, and "Gem of the Mountains" is Idaho. Kentucky is "The Meadow," while Nevada apparently means "Snow Covered." Some states are titled after famous settlers, such as Pennsylvania, named for Sir William Penn.

Others, however, are named for famous monarchs. Louisiana was named for King Louis the XIV of France, while Georgia was titled in honor of King George II. This is not the King George opposed by American revolutionaries. That was his son, George III. Also, New York is named for the Duke of York. North Carolina and South Carolina were inspired by King Charles I.

Many of the state names that we find so familiar now were derived from Native American words. Alaska, for instance, comes from the Aleut language and means "That Which the Sea Breaks Against."

Some of the names are long and poetic. Wisconsin, for one, is also known as "River Running Through a Red Place." The literal translation of Kansas is "People of the South Wind," while California means "Mythical Island Califia."

Other US state names are pretty short and self-explanatory, though. Colorado means "Sandstone Soil," Texas means "Friend" (which is as hospitable as North Dakota and South Dakota's real meanings), Maine means "Mainland," Virginia's "Country of the Virgin" and Mississippi means "Great River." Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee and Arizona (Place of the Small Spring) also got their name from waterways.

If you want to see the etymology research Expedia did to determine the translations of locales across North America, you can check it out here.

Editor's Note: This story originally ran on Aug. 25, 2017.

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