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Tennessee State Names (Etymology of Names)

Tennessee Name Etymology and State Nicknames

Appalachia

TN 3D MapTennessee is a U.S. state located in the Southeastern United States. Tennessee is the 36th most extensive and the 17th most populous of the 50 United States. Tennessee is bordered by Kentucky and Virginia to the north, North Carolina to the east, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi to the south, and Arkansas and Missouri to the west. The Appalachian Mountains dominate the eastern part of the state, and the Mississippi River forms the state's western border.

The name Tennessee came from a Cherokee village in the region that is called "Tanasie."

Tennessee nicknames

  • Volunteer State
  • Big Bend State
  • Mother of Southwestern Statesmen
  • The River with the Big Bend
  • Hog State
  • Hominy State
  • Butternuts
  • Hog and Hominy State

Origin of Tennessee State Name

Of Cherokee origin; the exact meaning is unknown.

The state of Tennessee was named after the Little Tennessee River. Originally "Tanasi" the river took its name from two Cherokee villages on its banks.

Tennessee Nicknames

Tennessee has had several State Name, but the most popular is "The Volunteer State." The nickname originated during the War of 1812 when thousands of Tennesseans enlisted in response to Governor Willie Blount's call for volunteers. Other nicknames include the "Big Bend State," which refers to the Indian name of the Tennessee River; "The River with the Big Bend"; and "Hog and Hominy State," now obsolete but formerly applied because "the corn and pork products of Tennessee were in such great proportions between 1830 and 1840"; and "The Mother of Southwestern Statesmen," because Tennessee furnished the United States three presidents and a number of other leaders who served with distinction in high government office.

Volunteer State

The nickname originated during the War of 1812 when thousands of Tennesseans enlisted in response to Governor Willie Blount's call for volunteers.

Big Bend State

Indian name of the Tennessee River.

Mother of Southwestern Statesmen

The three United States presidents who were Tennesseans and a number of other leaders who served with distinction in high government office.

The River with the Big Bend

Indian name of the Tennessee River.

Hog State

Production of pigs products of Tennessee were in such great proportions between 1830 and 1840

Hominy State

Production of corn products of Tennessee were in such great proportions between 1830 and 1840

Butternuts

Because of the tan color of their uniforms in the War Between the States

Tennessee Slogans

  • In 1965, the Tennessee General Assembly adopted as the state’s official slogan, “Tennessee—America at Its Best.” (Chapter 33, Section 1, Public Acts, 1965).
  • (formerly Sounds Good to Me )
  • (formerly Follow Me To Tennessee)
  • The Stage Is Set For You

Tennessee Postal Code

  • TN

Tennessee Resident's Name

  • Tennessean - Official (recommended by US GPO)
  • Volunteer - Official, unofficial or informal alternates
  • Big Bender - Official, unofficial or informal alternates
  • Butternut - Official, unofficial or informal alternates

Tennesseans sometimes are referred to as "Volunteers," "Big Benders"and "Butternuts." The first two are derived from the nickname of the state, while the tag of "Butternuts" was first applied to Tennessee soldiers during the War Between the States because of the tan color of their uniforms. Later, it sometimes was applied to people across the entire state.

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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