The Surprising Story Behind How Missouri Got Its Name

By Taylor Linzinmeir

September 9, 2022

The Gateway Arch, St Louis, Missouri, America
Photo: Getty Images

William Shakespeare didn't take much stake into what goes into a name. In "Romeo and Juliet," the famous writer had Juliet say, "What's in a name? That which we call a rose/ By any other name would smell as sweet." However, we would beg to differ with Shakespeare on how much a name matters.

That brings us to the whole purpose of this article: Have you ever wondered how your state got its name? The names of all the 50 states reflect their histories — From the tribes native of the region to the European countries who colonized. While some state names are unconfirmed or disputed, the vast majority of them have definitive etymologies. Insider graciously compiled a list of how each state got its name. Here's what they found out about the great state of Missouri:

"Missouri stems from the Native American word 'wimihsoorita' meaning 'people of the big canoes'."

According to the online etymology dictionary:

Originally a name for a group of native peoples among Chiwere (Siouan) tribes, from an Algonquian word recorded c. 1700, said to mean literally "people of the big canoes." Formed as a U.S. territory in 1812 (out of the whole of the Louisiana Purchase not admitted that year as the state of Louisiana); admitted as a state 1821.
Advertise With Us

For You

    Music, radio and podcasts, all free. Listen online or download the iHeart App.

    Connect

    © 2022 iHeartMedia, Inc.