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Ohio State Names (Etymology of Names)

Ohio Name Origin and State Nicknames


OH 3D Map: State Name OriginOhio is a state in the Midwestern United States. Ohio is the 34th largest (by area), the 7th most populous, and the 10th most densely populated of the 50 United States. To the north, Lake Erie gives Ohio 312 miles (502 km) of coastline, which allows for numerous cargo ports. Ohio's southern border is defined by the Ohio River (with the border being at the 1793 low-water mark on the north side of the river), and much of the northern border is defined by Lake Erie. Ohio's neighbors are Pennsylvania to the east, Michigan to the northwest, Ontario Canada, to the north, Indiana to the west, Kentucky on the south, and West Virginia on the southeast.

Ohio derives from the Iroquois Indian word meaning "good river" or "large river."

Ohio Nicknames

  • Buckeye State (Official)
  • Mother of Modern Presidents
  • Yankee State

Origin of Ohio State Name

From an Iroquoian word meaning "great river."

The state of Ohio is named after the Ohio River. Ohio is the name that the Iroquois Indians used when referring to the river and means "large" or "beautiful river."

Ohio Nicknames

Buckeye State

Ohio, the Buckeye State, received its nickname because of the many buckeye trees that once covered its hills and plains. But that's may be another reason.

William Henry Harrison, a Virginia-born Ohioan and military hero, was a candidate for the White House, but his opponents commented that he was better suited to sit in a log cabin and drink hard cider.

Making a positive reference, they dubbed him "the log cabin candidate," and chose as his campaign emblem a log cabin made of buckeye timbers, with a long string of buckeyes decorating its walls.

The campaign were successful. "Old Tippecanoe," as Harrison was often called, beat President Martin Van Buren, and thereafter the buckeye was closely associated with the state of Ohio.

The name itself is of native origin. Because the markings on the nut resembled the eye of a buck, the Indians called it "hetuck" or "buckeye."

The Ohio State Flag, adopted in 1902, displays a white circle with a red center, representing the "O" in Ohio and the Ohio "Buckeye." In 1953, the Ohio Buckeye, (Aesculus globra), was made the official State Tree of Ohio and "The Buckeye State" was made the official State Nickname.

Mother of Modern Presidents

Seven presidents were Ohioans (it's a name that Virginia once used). They are Ulysses Simpson Grant (Point Pleasant), Rutherford Bichard Hayes (Delaware, OH), James Abram Garfield (near Orange), Benjamin Harrison (North Bend), William McKinley (Niles), William Howard Taft (Cincinnati), and Warren Gamaliel Harding (Corsica, now Blooming Grove). William Henry Harrison, born in Virginia but settled in Ohio, is also claimed as one of Ohio's own.

Yankee State

During the very early part of the 19th century, Ohio was sometimes known as the Yankee State since many settlers had come from New England, but that's a nickname that was given up a long time ago.

Ohio Slogans

  • Birthplace of Aviation (on its license plate)
  • Birthplace of Aviation Pioneers (on its 50 state quarter)
  • (The Heart of It All formerly)  So Much to Discover

Ohio Postal Code

  • OH

Ohio Resident's Name

  • Ohioan - Official (recommended by US GPO)
  • Buckeye - Official, unofficial or informal alternates
State Names
State Names & Nicknames
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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