How Did Wisconsin Get Its Name?

did-wisconsin-its-name Credit: B Garrett/CC-BY 2.0

The exact origin of the name Wisconsin is uncertain, but it likely comes from one of two Native American words. Wisconsin may be an Algonquian Indian word that means "long river," or a Chippewa/Ojibwa/Anishinabe word, "Ouisconsin," that means "grassy place," or "gathering of the waters."

Staying true to the notion of a grassy place, Wisconsin has more than 14,262,000 acres of farmland, according to American Farmland Trust. Wisconsin's nickname is "The Badger State." It carries this name not because it has an abundance of badgers but because many early settlers were miners who burrowed into the hills for shelter as badgers do rather than building homes above the ground.