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Origins of town and region nicknames


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#1 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 06:17 PM

This started as a bit of slightly off-topic chat in a Win 7 topic and I thought it was worth bringing here. The trigger was the reference to a member as a 'Tarheel girl' which left me completely uninformed. apparently this is a slang or nickname reference to the states of North and South Carolina, and their citizens. So, here's a couple from Scotland.

 

Edinburgh

Even today commonly called 'Auld Reekie'. This dates back to the Middle Ages. The old town of Edinburgh was very densely built with tenements over-reaching the streets and sewage systems of the time consisted of a gutter down the middle of the street. It was the practice of the citizens to empty chamber pots out of a window into this gutter, hence the smell or 'reek'. For any of you familiar with the term 'loo' for toilet this is also the origin of this word. Normally when emptying a pot out of a window it was the practice of the citizenry to shout 'Gardy loo' to warn passers by what was about to happen, a corruption of the French phrase 'Gardez l'eau' or 'Watch out for the water' !

 

Montrose, in Angus

The citizenry of this peaceful and innocent small town are known as 'Gable endies' !  Back in the late Middle Ages / early Modern Era Montrose was heavily involved in the trade with the region now known as the Netherlands and their style of house building was widely copied. Instead of the more common practice of rows of houses facing onto the street, houses were built in short rows at right angles to the street with the gable end, or 'V' of the roof line facing the street. This arrangement is stiill very visible in Montrose today.

 

Let's have some more.

 

Chris Cosgrove



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#2 iMacg3

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 07:31 PM

Indiana, USA

People from Indiana are known as Hoosiers. No one is 100% sure why. Some think that the name was created because of early travelers visiting someone's cabin. They would call out to let the person living in the cabin know that they were there. The person in the cabin would reply "Who's here?" Some think that eventually became "Hoosier?" Others think that a contractor named Samuel Hoosier preferred to hire people from Indiana to work for him, and they became known as "Hoosier's men." Nobody really knows for sure where the term Hoosier came from.
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#3 Papakid

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 07:39 PM

One quick correction, Tarheels are only people from North Carolina.  South Carolina is a different state and so has its own history and nicknames--a whole different ball of wax.  I'm not aware of a nickname for all people from South Carolina.  The University of South Carolina's sporting teams are nicknamed the Gamecocks, so outsiders might want to call all people from their that, but if you are a graduate of another South Carolina university, like Clemson--who are the Tigers--then you might take issue with that.  But why Gamecocks? 

This unique moniker is held in honor of Thomas Sumter, a Revolutionary War hero from South Carolina who was nicknamed the "Carolina Gamecock" after British General Banastre Tarleton said Sumter "fought like a gamecock."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Carolina_Gamecocks

 

Not all states take have a nickname for all of its citizens, altho some from outside a certain state might do like my example of Gamecocks and call them by the most popularly known sports team mascot.  For example, it isn't completely inappropriate to call everyone from my home state of Arkansas a Razorback.  But all states do have official and unofficial nicknames--but not all of these are conducive to a nickname referring to all citizens.  Arkansas started out being known as the Bear State.  What would you call someone from the Bear State?  We have had other nicknames, but now are known as the Natural State.  South Carolina's official is the Palmetto State--what would you call them?

 

Hope you don't mind if I expand the topic a bit to include name origins.  They have always fascinated me.

 


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#4 Bezukhov

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 09:52 PM

We here in Rhode Island, and other states that border Massachusetts, have a particular cognomen for drivers from Massachusetts. But this is a polite forum, so I won't tell it here.

ETA: Well, okay. You take Mass-achusetts, and combine it with "a hollow place in a solid body or mass; a cavity:".

Edited by Bezukhov, 11 April 2018 - 08:50 AM.

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#5 Papakid

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 10:27 PM

I suppose I should tell why Arkansas became known as the Bear State.  Like many state nicknames, it is a reference to characteristic features of a region.  The black bear (Ursus americanus luteolus) was particularly abundant in the area, both in the mountains and the vast flood plains of the Mississippi and Arkansas Rivers.  Before petroleum products were developed, wagon axles and other moving parts of the day were lubricated with bear grease--this was common on the east coast and Appalachia, too.  So bears were sort of like the whales of the interior.  And like whales they were over exploited and became scarce by the 1960s.

 

Another of Arkansas' nicknames from the wilderness days was related somewhat to bears.  With all of those wild animals and sometimes even wilder men, most people from Arkansas carried some rather substantial knives with them, called Arkansas Toothpicks.  So Arkansas was called the Toothpick State.  Really the Arkansas Toothpick most people referred to back then was just the Bowie Knife, invented in Arkansas when James Bowie lived there.  Now a more specific knife design has been assigned that title--a long, double edged blade that comes to a point.


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when they walk away.--Mipso


#6 mjd420nova

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Posted 11 April 2018 - 04:36 PM

In Minnesota, the motto on the licence plates say "Land of 10,000 Lakes".  Actually there's over 14,000 lakes.  Northern parts could resemble a very large lake with a thousand islands.  One of the oldest settlements was at Fort Snelling,  Not far from Minnehaha Falls about which the poem Hiawatha is written.  Attempts to combine the twin cites of Minneapolis and Saint Paul has led no where.  Many think Minnehaha should be the single name.  "Minne" for Minneapolis and  "HAHA" for Saint Paul.  Home to Paul Bunyon, the blue ox and mosqitos  almost as big as humming birds.   The only true wilderness left in the lower 48 states is an area called the "boundary waters canoe area".  A thousand lakes and trails linking them all together, you could paddle off into the sunset and not see anyone else for weeks  if you carried enough food.  You could live off the land if you survive the winters.






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