Humanities › English Popular Names and Nicknames for Residents of States Share Flipboard Email Print (Patti McConville/Getty Images) English English Grammar An Introduction to Punctuation Writing by Richard Nordquist Richard Nordquist is a freelance writer and former professor of English and Rhetoric who wrote college-level Grammar and Composition textbooks. Updated November 04, 2019 It's easy to see why someone who lives in New York State is called a New Yorker. And why a resident of California is a Californian. But what do people in Massachusetts call themselves? And where do Huskies and Nutmeggers live? In the first column of the table below, you'll find the official names for residents of the 50 states according to The United States Government Printing Office Style Manual. The right-hand column contains alternative names and nicknames. Origins of Some Nicknames It's probably self-explanatory to think of why Colorado folks unofficially call themselves Highlanders or Alabama residents 'Bamers. But the name Hoosiers, in Indiana, didn't come from the basketball movie but actually a poem by John Finley about the state called "The Hoosier's Nest," from 1830, where the term was originally spelled "Hoosher." Nebraskans aren't Huskers just because of the state university nickname of Cornhuskers for its sports teams but actually for the people who husked corn there by hand before the advent of machinery to automate the task. Empire Staters, in New York, derive that nickname from the name of the state being the Empire State, a place of great wealth and resources, or an empire. Bay Staters of Massachusetts are proud of their definitive water inlets. Ohio's Buckeye name is in reference to trees that once dominated the landscape there. Down Easters aren't a serious type of winter storm; the term was actually a maritime reference to a specific area of Maine coastline, begun in the late 1700s. Ships going from Boston to Maine in warmer months had a strong wind at their back while traveling east, so they were traveling downwind and east, which became combined into the shortcut down east. The term also became associated in general with New England, but Mainers are the ones who kept it for their own. Insults You don't actually want to call an Iowan an Iowegian to his or her face, though; it's a pejorative term for the people from there (often used on the two-lane highways in Minnesota when drivers can't pass an Iowa car going less than the speed limit, for example). Whether the term Cheesehead is an insult to a Wisconsinite or not, though, depends on who's originating it (and possibly if it's being said inside a football stadium). Wisconsin is particularly proud of its dairy industry, so people from there proudly wear the foam cheese wedge hats on their heads to their sports arenas—and quite conspicuously to other ballparks and fields when following their teams—turning a former insult into a badge of honor. Those hats have even saved people from injury a time or two. (Really!) For more information about the origins of more of these names, along with the terms for residents of other countries and of major cities around the world, check out Paul Dickson's entertaining book Labels for Locals: What to Call People from Abilene to Zimbabwe (Collins, 2006). State-Based Nicknames Official Names Nicknames & Alternative Names Alabamian Alabaman, Alabamer, 'Bamer Alaskan Arizonan Arizonian Arkansan Arkansasian, Arkansawyer Californian Californiac Coloradan Coloradoan, Highlander Connecticuter Nutmegger Delawarean Delawearer Floridian Floridan Georgian Hawaiian malihini (newcomer) Idahoan Idahoer Illinoisan Illini, Illinoyer Indianian Hoosier, Indianan, Indianer Iowan Iowegian Kansan Kanser Kentuckian Kentucker, Kentuckeyite Louisianian Louisianan Mainer Down Easter Marylander Marylandian Massachusettsan Bay Stater Michiganite Michiganian, Michigander Minnesotan Mississippian Mississippier, Mississipper Missourian Montanan Nebraskan Husker Nevadan Nevadian New Hampshirite Granite Stater New Jerseyite New Jerseyan New Mexican New Yorker Empire Stater North Carolinian North Dakotan Ohioan Buckeye Oklahoman Okie Oregonian Oregonner Pennsylvanian Rhode Islander Rhodian South Carolinian South Dakotan Tennessean Texan Texian Utahn Utahan Vermonter Virginian Washingtonian 'Toner West Virginian Wisconsinite Cheesehead Wyomingite Continue Reading Can You Guess These State Nicknames? 8 Rules for Properly Recording Names in Genealogy Carpetbagger: Definition and Origin of the Political Term Table of Nicknames and Given Names to Help You Research Ancestors Hoosiers, Mancunians, and Other Names for Locals What's the Difference Between a Commonwealth and a State? 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