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10

Old Nicknames for Different States

H.L. Mencken compiled a list of different regional names that Americans used to refer to certain states and the people who lived there, the origins of some owing to some historical artifact or tidbit about the state, while others having no apparent reason for being called such.

Almost every American has heard Hoosier for an Indianan, Wolverine for a Michigander, Sucker for an Illinoisan, Cracker for a Georgian, Blue Hen’s Chicken for a Delawarean, Tar Heel for a North Carolinian, Clay-eater for any kind of Carolinian, Puke for a Missourian, Mud-cat for a Mississippian, Lizard or Yellowhammer for an Alabamian, Buckeye for an Ohioan, Hawkeye for an Iowan, Jayhawker for a Kansan, Gopher for a Minnesotan, Okie for an Oklahoman, Webfoot for an Oregonian, and Badger for a Wisconsinite.

He also mentioned nicknames given to particular cities and some have even made their way to this day but mostly associated with college sports teams. Most of these nicknames signified how back then, people's prejudice seeped into every level, from the individual to the collective, creating stereotypes for different groups.

As time passed by, however, and people migrated from one state to another, these nicknames slowly faded away from people's memories, relegating them only to history books.

(Image credit: Wikimedia Commons; Public domain)


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