Now, the VOA Special English program WORDS AND THEIR STORIES.
As we told you last week, every American state has a nickname. Here are some more of them.
Idaho is known as the Gem State. This is not because it has diamonds but because it believes it is the jewel of the western Rocky Mountains. Illinois is the Land of Lincoln. It is named for Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth president who led the nation through the Civil War in the eighteen sixties. The Midwestern state of Indiana is called the Hoosier State, but nobody is quite sure why.
One story is that the word was used to mean poor farmers or uneducated people. No wonder the state legislature instead calls Indiana the Crossroads of America. Iowa’s nickname, the Hawkeye State, is in honor of Black Hawk, an Indian chief who spent most of his life in neighboring Illinois!
Kansas also has a "hawkish" nickname: the Jayhawk State. Jayhawkers were free-state guerrilla fighters opposed to the pro-slavery fighters in the years before the Civil War.
Kentucky is the Bluegrass State. Bluegrass is really bright green but looks bluish from a distance. Louisiana is the Bayou State. A bayou is a slow-moving stream. Hundreds of them flow through this southern state, and many are full of alligators!
Maine, in the nation’s northeast, is the Pine Tree State because it is covered in evergreen woods. And directly across the country, on the Pacific Coast, is the state of Washington. It also has lots of evergreen trees so, not surprisingly, it is the Evergreen State.
The eastern state of Massachusetts is the Bay State. This body of water separates most of the state from famous Cape Cod.
Six state nicknames are taken from native animals. Michigan is the Wolverine State. A wolverine is a small, fierce mammal. The badger is a similar and equally fierce creature and Wisconsin is the Badger State.
Neighboring Minnesota, the Gopher State, is named for a much nicer animal that builds hills and tunnels. However, the Land of Ten Thousand Lakes is written on Minnesota’s vehicle license plates.
North Dakota gets its nickname, the Flickertail State not from some bird, but from a little squirrel. South Dakota takes its nickname, the Coyote State, from an animal that thinks flickertails are good to eat!
And Oregon, the Beaver State, borrows its nickname from the large, flat-tailed rodent that uses trees to build dams.
Next week, we will tell you about more state nicknames, including one that is about people’s feet!
This VOA Special English program was written by Ted Landphair. I’m Barbara Klein. You can find more WORDS AND THEIR STORIES at learningenglish.voanews.com.
1.bluish adj. 带蓝色的；有点蓝的
Her eyes are bluish green.
2.guerrilla n. 游击战；游击队
The security zone was set up to prevent guerrilla infiltrations.
1.ayhawkers were free-state guerrilla fighters opposed to the pro-slavery fighters in the years before the Civil War.
opposed to 反对；反对…的
The army was ideologically opposed to the kind of economic solution proposed.
She was adamantly opposed to her husband travelling to Brussels.
爱达荷州被成为宝石州，这并不是因为这里有宝石，而是因为该州自认为是洛杉矶山脉西部的一颗明珠。伊利诺州是林肯之地，其命名来自亚伯拉罕·林肯，也就是19世纪60年代领导美国进行内战的第16届总统 。美国中西部的印第安纳州被成为“胡希尔州”，但没人知道其出处 。