How Did Missouri Get Its Name?

did-missouri-its-name Credit: Eddie Brady/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images

The state of Missouri's name is derived from the tribe of Sioux Indians called the Missouris. The name "Missouri" means "town of the large canoes," and the state's nickname is the "Show-Me" state.

There is often confusion about the correct meaning of "Missouri." Some people believe the name means "muddy water," but the Smithsonian Institution Bureau of American Ethnology has determined that the name means "town of the large canoes."

The exact origin of the nickname of "Show-Me" state is unknown, but a common belief is that it was first uttered by Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver in 1899 during a speech at a naval banquet in Philadelphia. While the nickname is unofficial, it does appear on the state's license plates, and it is one of the most well-known nicknames in the nation.