- "cultural and geographical region of inland Eastern U.S.," 1880s, from the Appalachian Mountains, which are its core. Earlier Appalachia was proposed as a better name for "United States of America" by Washington Irving in 1839 (though he preferred Alleghenia) and this may have been the coinage of the word.
It is a thousand pities that the puny witticisms of a few professional objectors should have the power to prevent, even for a year, the adoption of a name for our country. At present we have, clearly, none. There should be no hesitation about "Appalachia." In the first place, it is distinctive. "America" is not, and can never be made so. We may legislate as much as we please, and assume for our country whatever name we think right — but to use it will be no name, to any purpose for which a name is needed, unless we can take it away from the regions which employ it at present. South America is "America," and will insist upon remaining so. [Edgar Allan Poe, 1846]