Connecticut State Names (Etymology of Names)

Connecticut Name Origin and State Nicknames

Connecticut is the southernmost state in the northeastern region of the United States known as New England. It is bordered by Rhode Island to the east, Massachusetts to the north, the State of New York to the west, and Long Island Sound to the south. Connecticut is the 3rd least extensive, 29th most populous and 4th most densely populated of the 50 United States.

The name Connecticut is from a Mohican/Algonquin Indian word "quonehtacut", which means "long tidal river."

Connecticut Nicknames

  • Constitution State (General Assembly in 1959)
  • Nutmeg State
  • Provisions State
  • The Blue Law State
  • Land of Steady Habits
  • The Freestone State
  • Arsenal of the Nation

Origin of Connecticut State Name

Connecticut is derived from an Indian word (Quinnehtukqut) meaning "beside the long tidal river"

Connecticut was an established name early in the 1600's in particular reference to the Connecticut River. The word itself was translated from the Indian name "Quinnehtukqut" and means "beside the long tidal river."

Connecticut Nicknames

Connecticut was designated the Constitution State by the General Assembly in 1959.

Constitution State

Connecticut was designated the Constitution State by the General Assembly in 1959. As early as the 19th Century, John Fiske, a popular historian from Connecticut, made the claim that the Fundamental Orders of 1638/39 were the first written constitution in history. Some contemporary historians dispute Fiske's analysis. However, Simeon E. Baldwin, a former Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court, defended Fiske's view of the Fundamental Orders in Osborn's History of Connecticut in Monographic Form by stating that "never had a company of men deliberately met to frame a social compact for immediate use, constituting a new and independent commonwealth, with definite officers, executive and legislative, and prescribed rules and modes of government, until the first planters of Connecticut came together for their great work on January 14th, 1638-9." The text of the Fundamental Orders is reproduced in Section I of this volume and the original is on permanent display at the Museum of Connecticut History at the State Library.

Nutmeg State

The "Nutmeg State"
According to the book State Names, Flags, Seals, Songs, Birds, Flowers, and Other Symbols by George Earlie Shankle (New York: H.W. Wilson Company, 1941):

"The sobriquet, the Nutmeg State, is applied to Connecticut because its early inhabitants had the reputation of being so ingenious and shrewd that they were able to make and sell wooden nutmegs. Sam Slick (Judge Halliburton) seems to be the originator of this story. Some claim that wooden nutmegs were actually sold, but they do not give either the time or the place."

Yankee peddlers from Connecticut sold nutmegs, and an alternative story is that:

"Unknowing buyers may have failed to grate nutmegs, thinking they had to be cracked like a walnut. Nutmegs are wood, and bounce when struck. If southern customers did not grate them, they may very well have accused the Yankees of selling useless "wooden" nutmegs, unaware that they wear down to a pungent powder to season pies and breads." Elizabeth Abbe, Librarian, the Connecticut Historical Society; Connecticut Magazine, April 1980.

First known as Land of Wooden Nutmegs (after a scam commonly perpetrated there of selling useless nutmegs made of wood), the state quickly became known as The Wooden Nutmeg State, and then just The Nutmeg State.

The Provisions State

During the Revolutionary War, Connecticut supplied most of the food and cannons for the Continental forces. "Perhaps the best indication of Connecticut's pre-eminent position as a supply state is found in Washington's very frequent appeals to Trumbull for help in provisions." This quote is found in Albert E. Van Dusen's Connecticut (New York: Random House, 1961), page 159.

The Blue Law State

It was also given  The Blue Law State, from some of its "Blue Laws" in colonial times.

The Freestone State

In 1843, the only nickname recorded for the state was The Freestone State

Connecticut Slogans

  • Full of Surprises

Connecticut Postal Code

  • CT

Connecticut Resident's Name

  • Connecticuter - Official (recommended by US GPO)
  • Nutmegger - Official, unofficial or informal alternates
  • Connecticotian - Official, unofficial or informal alternates
  • Connecticutensian - Official, unofficial or informal alternates
  • Connecticutian - Official, unofficial or informal alternates
  • Connetian - Official, unofficial or informal alternates

There are numerous other terms in print, but not in use, such as:

"Connecticotian" - Cotton Mather in 1702.
"Connecticutensian" - Samuel Peters in 1781.
"Nutmegger" is sometimes used. It is derived from the nickname, the Nutmeg State, based on the practice of the Connecticut peddlers who traveled about selling nutmegs.

There is not, however, any nickname that has been officially adopted by the State for its residents.

State Names
State Names & Nicknames

The Etymologies of US State Names