Now, the VOA Special English program Words and Their Stores.
A nickname is a shortened form of a person's name. A nickname can also be a descriptive name for a person, place or thing.
America's 50 states have some of the most historically interesting nicknames.
Alabama is known as the "Heart of Dixie" because it is in the very middle of a group of states in the Deep South. Dixie itself is a nickname for the American South. It started when Louisiana printed notes with the French word for "ten" on them. "Deece," or D-I-X, led to "Dixie."
Way up north, Alaska is called the "Last Frontier" for understandable reasons. Near the Arctic Circle, it was the final part of the nation to be explored and settled.
Arizona is the "Grand Canyon State" because of the famous winding canyon carved by the Colorado River. The southern state of Arkansas is the "Land of Opportunity." The state legislature chose this nickname. Arkansas is rich in natural resources and has become a favorite place for older people to retire.
In a popular Spanish book, a fictional island called "California" was filled with gold. Sure enough, plenty of it was discovered in the real California, in 1848. This started a gold rush unlike any other in American history in the "Golden State."
You would think Colorado would be known as the "Rocky Mountain State." But its nickname is the "Centennial State." That is because it became a state in 1876, exactly 100 years after the nation declared its independence.
Connecticut is called the "Nutmeg State" after a spice. Connecticut Yankees, as people in this northeast state are called, are known to be smart in business. So smart that it was said they could sell wooden, meaning false, nutmegs to strangers.
Little Delaware is called the "First State" because it was the first state -- the first to approve the new United States Constitution.
The southern state of Florida likes to tell about its sunny days and fine beaches. So Florida is the "Sunshine State." Florida's neighbor to the north grows some of the sweetest fruit in America. So Georgia is the "Peach State."
Hawaii, far out in the Pacific Ocean, is the "Aloha State." That is the friendly greeting that means both "hello" and "goodbye" in the native Hawaiian language. So, aloha for now.
Next week we will tell you about the nicknames of more American states.
China is continuing an anti-corruption effort by targeting officials who have family members and property outside the country. People in China are asking how many officials have moved money out of the country, and how likely it is that they will be caught. More
Work on $300 million project to begin immediately; five Asian companies and Google involved in the project, which will link US West Coast and Japan. | In the News More
Two Americans who became sick with the deadly Ebola virus have been released from the hospital in Atlanta. Tests showed they were free of the disease. Islamic State group demanded $132 Million ransom for executed U.S. journalist. New president in Indonesia and new Prime Minister in Thailand. More
As the Little League World Series celebrates its 40th anniversary of letting girls play, two take to the mound. And one has a fastball that is leaving the boys at the plate score-less. More
The racial violence in the city of Ferguson, Missouri is an important issue for Barack Obama, the first African-American president. Mr. Obama has asked protestors to stop fighting with police. And he has called for calm and understanding. But violent protests continue. More
The artist also announced that a new album, '1989,' will be out in late October. Swift says the sound will be all pop | American Mosaic More
Democrat Stephen Douglas was seeking re-election as a U.S. senator from Illinois. His opponent was a lawyer from the new Republican Party, Abraham Lincoln. | The Making of a Nation More
While we sleep, our brains are doing much more than getting ready for the next day. Researchers at the University of Rochester found that the brain may be busy cleaning house -- cleaning out harmful waste materials. More
The huge home in North Carolina was built at the end of the 1800s. The man who owned the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina was George Vanderbilt. Biltmore has 250 rooms and the house is now open to the public. | This Is America More
Robin Williams was a humorist and a highly-trained actor. We look at some of his most famous movie lines from a Learning English angle | American Mosaic More