region in northeastern Germany, late 14c., Prusse (late 13c. as a surname), from Medieval Latin Borussi, Prusi, Latinized forms of the native name of the Lithuanian people who lived in the bend of the Baltic before being conquered 12c. and exterminated by (mostly) German crusaders who replaced them as the inhabitants.
Perhaps from Slavic *Po-Rus "(Land) Near the Rusi" (i.e. Russians; compare Pomerania). The German duchy of Prussia after the 17c. union with the Mark of Brandenberg became the core of the Prussian monarchy and later the chief state in the German Empire. The center of power shifted to Berlin after the union, and the old core of the state came to be known as East Prussia.
American colony, later U.S. state, 1681, literally "Penn's Woods," a hybrid formed from the surname Penn (Welsh, literally "head") + Latin sylvania (see sylvan). Not named for William Penn, the proprietor, but, on suggestion of Charles II, for Penn's late father, Admiral William Penn (1621-1670), who had lent the king the money that was repaid to the son in the form of land for a Quaker settlement in America. The story goes that the younger Penn wanted to call it New Wales, but the king's secretary, a Welshman of orthodox religion, wouldn't hear of it. Pennsylvania Dutch (adj.) in reference to the German communities of the state, which retained their customs and language, is attested from 1824.
a name originally applied to the lake, perhaps from Old Ojibwa (Algonquian) *meshi-gami "big lake." The spelling is French. Organized as a U.S. territory 1805, admitted as a state 1837. A resident is a Michiganian (1813); Michigander (1848) seems to have been a humorous coinage of Abraham Lincoln in reference to Lewis Cass.
place in New York state, early recorded as saraghtogo and apparently the name is from an Iroquoian language, but it is of unknown meaning. In reference to a kind of large trunk by 1858; so called because it was much used by ladies traveling to the summer resort of Saratoga.
city in Ohio, from Greek xenia "hospitality, rights of a guest, friendly relation with strangers," literally "state of a guest," from xenos "guest" (from PIE root *ghos-ti- "stranger, guest, host"). Founded 1803 and named by vote of a town meeting, on suggestion of the Rev. Robert Armstrong to imply friendliness and hospitality.
member of a German Anabaptist sect, 1560s, from name of Menno Simons (1492-1559), founder of the sect in Friesland and chief exponent of its doctrines (adult baptism, refusal of oaths, civic offices, and support of the state in war), + -ite (1). As an adjective by 1727. Alternative form Mennonist (n.) is attested from 1640s.
U.S. capital, founded 1791, named for President George Washington (1732-1799); the family name is from a town in northeastern England, from Old English, literally "estate of a man named Wassa." The U.S. state was named when it was formed as a territory in 1853 (admitted to the union 1889). Related: Washingtonian.
Baltic nation, first independent in 1918, named for its inhabitants, Latvian Latvji, whose ancient name is of unknown origin. In English, the people name was Lett. Parts of the modern state were known previously as Livonia (from Estonian liiv "sand") and Courland (from Curonians, the name of a Lettish people, which is of unknown origin). Related: Latvian.
originally the name of the river, from the French rendering of an Algonquian name (French missionaries first penetrated the river valley in its upper reaches) meaning "big river;" compare Ojibwa mshi- "big," ziibi "river." Organized as a U.S. territory 1798; admitted as a state 1817. Related: Mississippian (by 1775; as a geological period, by 1891).