A map of the USA… in English for a change

Source: reddit.com/r/etymology

Reddit user imkharn took an interesting approach in making a map of the USA – he used the literal English translations of the etymology for each state name.

For each item I followed the etymology back until it was translatable to English. For some states this meant more then one step.

Louisiana comes from Louis which comes from the Frankish word hluda wiga which means heard of or Famous War.

Washington comes from Old English and means estate of a man named Wassa. Wassa in turn is an Anglo-Saxon name for Genius of the Woods.

While it isn’t perfect (other users have already poked holes in imkharn’s etymological derivations), the result is a very interesting version of a map with which we’re all intimately familiar. While some places have simpler and understandable derivations (e.g. Oregon meaning “beautiful”, Texas meaning “friend”, or Maine meaning “mainland”), some go through numerous derivations and become pretty surreal (for example Washington becomes “estate of the genius of the woods”, and Florida becomes “flowery Easter”).

Click for the full size version.

Perhaps we’d all know what Washington originally meant if we were to take on some of the English classes Washington offers through Language Trainers!

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