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Wyoming State Names (Etymology of Names)

Wyoming Name Etymology and State Nicknames

Rocky Mountains

WY 3D MapWyoming is a state in the mountain region of the Western United States. Wyoming is the 10th most extensive, but the least populous and the second least densely populated of the 50 United States. Wyoming is bordered on the north by Montana, on the east by South Dakota and Nebraska, on the south by Colorado, on the southwest by Utah, and on the west by Idaho.

The name Wyoming may be derived from the Delaware Indian word "Maughwauwama," which means "large plains."

Wyoming nicknames

  • Equality State
  • The Suffrage State
  • The Sagebrush State
  • The Cowboy State
  • Big Wyoming
  • Park State

Origin of Wyoming State Name

The musical name, "Wyoming," was used by J.M. Ashley of Ohio, who, as early as 1865, introduced a bill to Congress to provide a "temporary government for the territory of Wyoming." It was to be formed from portions of the Dakota, Utah and Idaho territories. The bill was referred to a committee where it rested until 1868. During debate on the bill in the US Senate in 1868, other possible names were suggested, such as Cheyenne, Shoshoni, Arapaho, Sioux, Platte, Big Horn, Yellowstone, Sweetwater and Lincoln. "Wyoming" was already commonly used and remained the popular choice.

The name Wyoming was adopted from two Delaware Indian words, MECHEWEAMI-ING. To the Indians it meant "at the big plains," or "on the great plain," certainly appropriate for Wyoming.

From the Delaware Indian word, meaning "mountains and valleys alternating"; the same as the Wyoming Valley in Pennsylvania

Legh Freeman, publisher of The Frontier Index in Kearny, Nebraska, claimed that it was he who first suggested Wyoming as the name for this portion of the Dakota Territory. Wyoming comes from the Dakota "mscheweamiing" meaning "at the big flats" or "large plains."

Wyoming Nicknames

Equality State

Wyoming women were granted the right to vote in 1869 so there would be enough voting citizens to meet the population requirement for statehood.The nickname for Wyoming is The Equality or Cowboy State. This action lead to the nickname The Suffrage State and then later The Equality State.

The Suffrage State

This was the precursor to "The Equality State" nickname. It came about when Wyoming granted the right to vote to women in 1869

The Sagebrush State

This term was given to Wyoming because of the wild sage that is prevelent in some sections of the state.

The Cowboy State

Logo depicting cowboy on bucking bronco was adopted officially as a symbol of the state, which led to some calling Wyoming The Cowboy State (the cowboy and bucking bronco emblem appears on Wyoming's state quarter

Big Wyoming

This name references the size of the state of Wyoming; 10th largest state in total area. This promotional commentary pays homage to the rugged natural beauty of Wyoming, a state where the Great Plains meets the Rocky Mountains.

Park State

Because of the numerous list of parks and reserves in Wyoming

  • 12 State Parks 
  • 2 National Parks 
  • 5 National Forests
  • 1 National Historic Landmark 
  • 1 National Historic Site 
  • 4 National Wildlife Refuges
  • 2 National Recreation Areas

Wyoming Slogans

  • Like No Place on Earth

Wyoming Postal Code

  • WY

Wyoming Resident's Name

  • Wyomingite - Official (recommended by US GPO)
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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