Many of our states were named through an indigenous language back in the early discovery of North America, and we've got each state's name translation here!

Expedia put some research into this one, even putting a cool U.S. map together that showcases each state, including Canada! They were kind enough to even put the source of each state's literal translation in their story as well.

For instance, the translation of "Minnesota" is:

Originally the name of the river, from Dakota (Siouan) mnisota, literally "cloudy water, milky water," from mni "river, stream" + sota "slightly clouded."


The Literal Translation of Places in Canada & the United States, courtesy of

I got a kick out of the translations of some of our neighbors...

  • Wisconsin - River running through a red place.
  • Iowa - This is the place. (odd!)
  • Illinois - Speaks normally.

The one I thought was spot-on was Arkansas, "the land of downriver people", which I thought was a great way of calling them "hillbilly swamp folks"!

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