This map gives us a chance to peel back the layers of history and look at the many different cultures and peoples who shaped America as it is today. A lot of the state meaning variation comes down to which Native American language source you go with. Others have an obvious connection to the English language (Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, New York, North/South Carolina, Virginia) or famous figures (Washington and Pennsylvania). It’s fun knowing the backgrounds of the state names you’ve been saying since you learned to spell M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I (that’s “Great River” to you). Here are our top choices for each state’s literal meaning and the language each was derived from.
Hawaii; Meaning: Place of the Gods; Language: Proto-Polynesian; Note: Other research shows that, in the Hawaiian language, Hawaii has no meaning.