Mississippi State Names (Etymology of Names)

Mississippi Name Origin and State Nicknames

Mississippi is a U.S. state located in the Southern United States. Jackson is the state capital and largest city with 175,437 people in 2012 up 1.1% from the 2010 U.S. Census with 173,514.  Mississippi is the 32nd most extensive and the 31st most populous of the 50 United States. Mississippi is bordered on the north by Tennessee, on the east by Alabama, on the south by Louisiana and a narrow coast on the Gulf of Mexico and on the west, across the Mississippi River, by Louisiana and Arkansas.

The name of the state derives from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary, whose name comes from the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi ("Great River")

  • Magnolia State
  • Bayou State
  • Eagle State
  • Border-Eagle State
  • Mud-cat State
  • Mud-Waddler State
  • Hospitality State
  • Groundhog State

Origin of Mississippi State Name

The state of Mississippi is named after the Mississippi River. Though the river was called by many different names, the name Mississippi given to it by the Indians was the name that was used on Robert Cavelier Sieur de La Salle's map of the area in 1695.

What does the word Mississippi mean? The name Mississippi comes from the French "Messipi" - the French rendering of the Anishinaabe (Ojibwe or Algonquin) name for the river, "Misi-ziibi," meaning "Great River."

Mississippi is taken from an Indian word meaning "Father of Waters."

Mississippi means "large river" to the Chippewa Indians.

Mississippi Nicknames

Magnolia State

Because of the abundance of magnolia flowers and trees in the state, and its adoption as the official state flower and tree, has led to the modern nickname of the Magnolia State.

Eagle State

Eagle on its coat of arms. Eagle State is possibly a shortening of Border-Eagle State, which first appeared around 1846, and both may be from the eagle that appears on the state's seal.

Border-Eagle State

Eagle on its coat of arms. Border-Eagle State, which first appeared around 1846, and both may be from the eagle that appears on the state's seal.

Mud-cat State / Mud-Waddler State

Catfish. In 1872, Mississippi was known as the Mudcat State, after a large catfish that lived in the river mud (a similar allusion may also have given it the less common nickname the Mud-Waddler State from In John Goff's 1892 Book of Nicknames, Mississippi is referred to as "The Mud-waddler" state. No explanation is given.

Bayou State

Bayou State dates from around 1867

Groundhog State / Hospitality State

The state is also sometimes known as the Groundhog State or the Hospitality State (which appears on the license plates). It is assumed that this name  Groundhog State originated at some point due to the population of ground hogs in Mississippi. Though referred to in John Goff's 1892Book of Nicknames, this name, like "The Mud-waddler State," is not explained.

Mississippi Slogans

  • Feels Like Coming Home,
  • "The South's Warmest Welcome"

Mississippi Postal Code

  • MS

Mississippi Resident's Name

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

The Etymologies of US State Names