Maryland State Names (Etymology of Names)

Maryland Name Origin and State Nicknames

Maryland is a state located in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C. to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east. Maryland possesses a variety of topography within its borders, contributing to its nickname America in Miniature. Maryland is also considered to be the birthplace of religious freedom in America, dating back to its earliest colonial days when it was made a refuge for persecuted Catholics from England by George Calvert the first Lord Baltimore, and the first English proprietor of the then-Maryland colonial grant.

Maryland was named to honor the Queen consort Henrietta Maria (1609-1669), the wife of Britain's King Charles I

Maryland nicknames

  • Old Line State
  • America in Miniature
  • Free State
  • Cockade State
  • Monumental State
  • Terrapin State
  • Chesapeake State
  • Oyster State

Origin of Maryland State Name

 In honor of Henrietta Maria (queen of Charles I of England). The charter that Lord Baltimore received in 1632 from King Charles I of England specified a name for the new colony. It was to be called Maryland to honor King Charles' wife Queen Henrietta Maria (Queen Mary).

Maryland Nicknames

Old Line State

According to some historians, General George Washington bestowed the name "Old Line State" and thereby associated Maryland with its regular line troops, the Maryland Line, who served courageously when 400 soldiers in the First Maryland Regiment fought a British force of 10,000 and helped General George Washington's army to escape. Washington depended on the Maryland Line throughout the war, and the soldiers' discipline and bravery earned Maryland its nickname.

America in Miniature

Maryland possesses a variety of topography within its borders, contributing to its nickname America in Miniature

Free State

The nickname "Free State" was created by Hamilton Owens, editor of the Baltimore Sun. In 1923, Georgia Congressman William D. Upshaw, a firm supporter of Prohibition, denounced Maryland as a traitor to the Union for refusing to pass a State enforcement act. Mr. Owens thereupon wrote a mock-serious editorial entitled "The Maryland Free State," arguing that Maryland should secede from the Union rather than prohibit the sale of liquor. The irony in the editorial was subtle, and Mr. Owens decided not to print it. He popularized the nickname, however, in later editorials.

Terrapin State

Terrapin State (representative of the decline in standing of the state)

The Cockade State

This nickname, coined during the Revolutionary War, again refers to the Maryland soldiers. According to King's Handbook of the United States, 1891, the Maryland Old Line was made up of young men who "...wore brilliant cockades". Cockades are badge-like ornaments usually worn on hats. These decorations gave birth to Maryland's nickname, "The Cockade State."

Monumental State

Monumental State (a name which had appeared by 1843, and which derives from Baltimore's nickname of "Monumental City")

Chesapeake State

Chesapeake State (by which name it is known on its license plates).

Oyster State

Oyster State (from the Chesapeake oyster, once considered a great pride for the state)

Maryland Slogans

  • Seize the Day Off
  • (formerly America in Miniature )
  • formerly More Than You Can Imagine )


  • Annapolis

Maryland Postal Code

  • MD

Maryland Resident's Name

  • Marylander - Official (recommended by US GPO)
State Names
State Names & Nicknames

The Etymologies of US State Names