October 23, 2014 02:17 UTC

Words and Their Stories

Buckeyes, Sooners, Quakers, Volunteers and Cowboys

One of Vermont's many covered bridges
One of Vermont's many covered bridges

Multimedia

Play or download an MP3 of this story
Buckeyes, Sooners, Quakers, Volunteers and Cowboys
Buckeyes, Sooners, Quakers, Volunteers and Cowboys i
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

Now, the VOA Special English program Words and Their Stories.

Today, we finish telling about the interesting nicknames that have been given to the fifty American states.

​The state of Ohio is in the midwest. It is named the "Buckeye State" after a tree that produces nuts similar to chestnuts.

The Great Plains state of Oklahoma is called the "Sooner State." That is because of a sale of land in 1889. Some people arrived in the territory to claim their land earlier than they were supposed to. They cheated and got there "sooner."

Pennsylvania's nickname is the "Keystone State." Just as a keystone holds together a stone arch, Pennsylvania was seen as holding together the young American republic.

Pennsylvania is also sometimes called the "Quaker State." Its founder -- William Penn, and most of his followers -- were members of the Protestant Quaker religion.

Rhode Island's nickname is "Little Rhody" because of its size. The state is smaller than the area around Los Angeles, California.

Tennessee got its nickname -- the "Volunteer State" -- because of the bravery of its citizens. They volunteered to join Tennessean Andrew Jackson to defend the city of New Orleans, Louisiana, against the British army in the War of 1812.

Texas is called the "Lone Star State." It gets its nickname from the single star on its flag. This represents the short time Texas was an independent nation battling Mexico for self-rule.

The "Beehive State" of Utah has no more beehives than any other state. The nickname is from the Mormon Church's symbol for hard work.

The eastern state of Vermont is proud of its beautiful Green Mountains so it calls itself the "Green Mountain State." The southern state of Virginia is called the "Old Dominion." Long ago, King Charles II of England added the colony's coat of arms to his shield. It joined his other dominions of England, Ireland, and Scotland.

West Virginia broke away from Virginia in the 1860s. It is called simply the "Mountain State" for the ancient Appalachian mountains.

And we have saved perhaps the most American nickname for last. The western state of Wyoming was once an area where cattle were transported east. And where there are cattle, there are men -- and now women -- to move them. So Wyoming is the "Cowboy State."

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Learn with The News

  • Armed officers approach Parliament Hilll following a shooting incident in Ottawa, Oct. 22, 2014.

    Video Deadly Attack Shocks Canada's Capital

    Also, Kurdish lawmakers in Iraq vote to send Kurdish forces to the Syrian town of Kobani. China said 43 people tested for possible Ebola infection do not have the virus. Russia and Ukraine are still working to reach an agreement on Ukraine's payments for natural Gas. More

  • Survivors of the Ebola virus pose for a picture outside a clinic near Tubmanburg, October 15, 2014. A total of 4,493 people have died from the world's worst Ebola outbreak on record as of Oct. 12, statistics released by the World Health Organization showe

    Audio Ebola Survivors Speak Out about Their Experience

    The number of Ebola cases continues rising. But there is some hope for those who survive the disease. Recently, a conference for Ebola survivors was held for the first time in eastern Sierra Leone. The goal was to offer advice to survivors and increase understanding of the disease. More

  • FBI Director James Comey speaks about the impact of technology on law enforcement, Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014, at Brookings Institution in Washington.

    Audio Apple, FBI Battle Over Privacy Rules

    Apple recently said it was increasing security settings on its latest operating system for the company’s wireless devices. Apple said its new encryption rules are designed to protect users from search and seizure of their iPhones. But the changes are of concern to federal investigators. More

  • Men convicted of drug related crimes hear the public announcement for their death sentences in Shenzhen, China, on August 15, 1996.  (AP Photo/Vincent Yu, File)

    Audio Activists: China Executed 2,400 People in 2013

    The number of executions in China is lower than in earlier years. However, it is more than three times higher than the number of executions in the rest of the world combined. That information comes from Amnesty International. Death penalty numbers are a state secret in China. More

  • Ebola-CDC brief

    Audio  WHO: Ebola Vaccine Could Be in Use by January

    Also, student leaders in Hong Kong not satisfied with first talks with government officials. North Korea has releases one of three American prisoners. And South African Olympian Oscar Pistorius has been sentenced to five years in prison for the deadly shooting of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. More

Featured Stories

  • Audio Iron Ships Clash at Sea

    The American Civil War was fought not only on land, but at sea. In 1862, Confederate and Union forces fought a new kind of navy battle in waters off Hampton Roads, Virginia. It was the first battle between iron ships. On the Confederate side was a ship called the Virginia. | The Making of a Nation More

  • Audio San Francisco Radio Stations Ban Lorde's 'Royals'

    The California baseball team, San Francisco Giants, is playing the Kansas City Royals for the 2014 Major League Baseball championship, the World Series. Two radio stations in San Francisco banned the hit song "Royals." In return, another station in Kansas City chose to play the song once every hour. More

  • A neurovascular unit on a chip being developed by Vanderbilt University researchers. (Vanderbilt University Photo/John Wikswo)

    Video Scientists Design Chips to Act Like Human Organs

    Testing new drugs for safety and effectiveness is a costly process in the United States. It also can take a lot of time. Some scientists are now designing silicon computer chips that act like human organs. The scientists think they have found a way to make the process faster and more economical. More

  • Brain Resource Infographic

    Audio Dealing with Distractions and Overreactions

    Five million American children and teenagers have Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder, commonly known as ADHD. ADHD makes it difficult - if not impossible - to stay with a duty until it is complete. Katherine Ellison knows the problem well. | Health Report More

  • Millions of years of history, which can be found on the ocean floor, are collected and analyzed at the Core Repository in New York.

    Video Scientists Create New Maps of Ocean Floor

    Until recently, scientists had mapped only about 20 percent of the sea floor. But our knowledge of the deep seas is changing because of information from satellites. Scientists have produced a new map that provides a detailed picture of the oceans. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner BlogConfessions of an English Learner Blog

Tell us About Our Programs