The Top 5 Most Ridiculous State Nicknames

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A good nickname or motto reflects the spirit and culture of the organization which adopts it. Mottoes tell us something about the people behind them, often giving great insight in few words. Thus, the ever-prepared Boy Scouts of America live by the motto “Always Be Prepared,” and thus the motto of the International Olympic Committee is “Faster, Higher, Stronger.” Each U.S. state has also adopted a sobriquet. While a few U.S. states have superlative slogans, such as Alaska’s “North to the Future,” most are rather inane. A few others, though, are downright preposterous.

5 “Better Yet, Connecticut!”

This state slogan was retired back in the mid-1980s after a brief, lackluster run. Frankly, Connecticut is a pretty boring state. It has some natural beauty in its forests, rolling hills and coastline, but it’s not like there are lofty mountain peaks or towering pines. It has a few medium-sized cities but none people travel around the globe to see. And it’s pretty small. We think CT should focus on its few large casinos, its many fine schools and its centers of industry, being frank and earnest about itself: “The Fully Acceptable State That’s Close to NYC and Boston,” perhaps. Their erstwhile slogan makes one wonder that Connecticut is better yet… than what? Hell itself? New Jersey?

4 “Taxation Without Representation”

This phrase, emblazoned on most Washington DC license plates, is not ridiculous in and of itself at all, far from it; rather it is ridiculous that this simple act of civil outrage is necessary. The residents of our nation’s capital, a city legally autonomous from any other state or commonwealth, pay government taxes yet have no elected representative with voting power. They cannot choose a senator determined to clean up the city’s streets or a congressman ready to fix up DC’s troubled schools or anything like that! So instead they drive around in cars sporting three words of righteous indignation, powerless in the country’s very seat of power.

3 “Is This Heaven?”

That, friends, is the question that license plates and state road signs across Iowa asked for a number of years. The common rejoinder to the state’s celestial inquiry was “No, it’s Iowa.” Because listen, Iowa is many things: at 56,000 square miles, it is right smack in the middle when it comes to U.S. state size. It has more than three million residents. It has lots and lots of corn. But none of that and nothing else about the place adds up to anything near heaven. Now, purgatory? Sure.

2 Ohio vs. North Carolina

We have to let two states share the runner-up spot for the most ridiculous state slogan, because either one is innocuous on its own, hilarious in the context of the other. Both Ohio and North Carolina lay claim to the prize of humankind’s first powered flight, declaring themselves “The Birthplace of Aviation” and “First in Flight,” respectively. Who do you think deserves the crown? Indeed the Wright Brothers, the first aviators lived in and designed their flyer in Ohio, but the first flight took place in NC in 1903. Perhaps both are sort of right? Or perhaps a couple of small edits could settle the matter! We recommend: “The Birthplace of Aviators” and “First Flight.”

1 “The Show Me State”

Ask ten residents of Missouri what their state’s nickname means and you will get ten different answers. Many claim that The Show Me State refers to a rugged independent streak running through the blood of Missourians that would have them demand proof of any claim. Others say it relates to all the wonder and beauty one can be shown in MO. In fact, no one from historians to hotel clerks to elected officials seems to really know where the slogan originated and what exactly it means. So therefore it means… nothing, really. Perhaps it is truncated from the phrase “If you have a better idea for a state motto, please show me!”

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