surname taken as the type of excessive hype and promotion, by 1850s, from circus owner P.T. Barnum (1810-1891), described in OED as "a pushing American show-proprietor." The surname is from the place-name Barnham.
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.