Every state has a demonym. What's yours?
A recent survey in my home state, Michigan, asked 600 residents if they preferred to be called â€œMichiganiansâ€ or â€œMichigandersâ€. â€œMichiganderâ€ won by just under 60%. Of course, there is no official answer to a question like this; â€œdemonymsâ€, as theyâ€™re called, are a matter of personal preference, not an official name of any kind. But this survey got me thinking: what are the demonyms for other states?
Some state demonyms are obvious, of course. New York residents are New Yorkers; people in California are Californians; and folks from Texas are Texans. But what about people from some of the other states? Like Massachusetts? Or Connecticut? I did a little digging, and came up with some interesting information. Here are the highlights:
People from Arkansas are typically called Arkansans. I was really hoping theyâ€™d be â€œArkansassersâ€, because then I might have left Michigan and moved there, just for the awesome name.
Folks in Connecticut are Connecticuters. I like this demonym because it has the word â€œcuteâ€ in it, and who doesnâ€™t want to be cute? Also, what good exercise for your tongue! â€œConnecticuter, Connecticuter, Connecticuter . . .â€Try saying that 10 times fast!
Indianaâ€™s people can either be called Indianans, or Indianians. Iâ€™ve got a bunchÂ of relatives in Indiana, lovingly referred to as the "Hoosier" Fam. They donâ€™t seem to mind.
Kentucky residents are Kentuckians. If Neil Diamond wishes to be politically and grammatically correct, he should probably go back and change his hit song from â€œKentucky Womanâ€ to â€œKentuckian Womanâ€. Re-recording would be a pain, but the change would only add half a beat. Neil Diamond, with all his musical prowess, could certainly handle that.
People from Maine are Mainers. I like this. Itâ€™s bold, to-the-point, and makes a person sound important. â€œIâ€™m not a minor. Iâ€™m a Mainer!â€ (Rim shot). Seriously, if youâ€™re from Maine and you want to go a little crazy with your demonym, itâ€™s also politically correct to call yourself a Mainiac.
Massachusetts folks are Massachusettsans. I remember struggling with the spelling of â€œMassachusettsâ€ in elementary school. "Twenty-five-cent-word", my teacher used to call words like this back in the early 80's.Â Now I find out thereâ€™s a fifty-buck variation of "Massachusetts"!Â This is the perfect demonym to take down some poor, nervous kid at a spelling bee--thank goodness it won't be me!
Utah folks are Utahans. To say this, you must stretch your jaw and hold it open longer than you do for most English words. For some people, saying "Utahan" creates a yawning sensationÂ in the back ofÂ the throat. Perhaps this demonym would be a good relaxation exercise for insomniacs.
Wisconsin residents are Wisconsonites. One site I visited suggested that â€œCheeseheadâ€ is a valid Wisconsin demonym. Iâ€™m not from Wisconsin, but I bet some of the folks in that state are just as fed up cheese jokes as we people in Michigan are tired of holding up two hands to explain where we live.
Before the â€œMichiganinanâ€ vs. â€œMichiganderâ€ poll hit the news, Iâ€™d never even heard of the word "demonym". Itâ€™s good to learn something new every day! Whatâ€™s your state demonym? Whatâ€™s your cityâ€™s demonym? If you donâ€™t like the sound of your demonym, itâ€™s perfectly OK to make up your own!