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What is the longest U.S. state name?

05 Jun 2022 4 Min read
us state longest name

Are you wondering what the longest U.S. state name is? To clarify, we are talking about the 50 states only, not any of the U.S. territories.

Well, it's a more complicated question than you think.

So we decided to give you two answers, the state that technically has the longest name and the state that has the longest name but is not technically correct.

Confused? Keep reading.

The state that previously "technically" had the longest name

Up until November of 2020, the longest name of a state was Rhode Island because their official legal name was the "State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations", totaling 48 characters in length.

It was an interesting coincidence that the smallest state had the longest name.

After November 2020, voters successfully voted to remove "Providence Plantations" from the name.

Rhode Island simply became "Rhode Island" and no longer was the state with the longest name.

The state that now "technically" has the longest name

Four of the 50 U.S. states are commonwealth states. This means that the words "Commonwealth of" are added to the beginning of these four official state names. This of course adds a lot of length to the names.

These four commonwealth states are the "Commonwealth of Kentucky", the "Commonwealth of Pennsylvania", the "Commonwealth of Massachusetts" and the "Commonwealth of Virginia". Out of these four states, Massachusetts is the longest.

This means that the "Commonwealth of Massachusetts" is the longest U.S. state name measuring 29 characters." Keep in mind the 29 characters does include spaces, if you don't count the spaces it would be 27 letters in total. We of course used our very own character counter tool to measure the character and letter length.

Massachusetts was formed in 1788 and its name is an Indian name which means "At the Great Hill".

The "Commonwealth of Pennsylvania" has the second longest name, measuring 28 characters, or without the spaces it would be 26 letters.

The longest state name for non-technical people

It's uncommon to hear someone refer to a state name using the official commonwealth terminology.

When was the last time someone you know called Kentucky the "Commonwealth of Kentucky"? Probably never. They would most likely just say Kentucky.

Therefore, if someone wants to know which U.S. state has the longest name, it's possible they're not aware of all the commonwealth terminology and are just asking for the longest state name as most people think of state names (i.e. Kentucky instead of the Commonwealth of Kentucky).

In this case, if we remove "Commonwealth of" from the four commonwealth states, Massachusetts no longer is the longest state name.

The longest state name becomes a tie for first place between "North Carolina" and "South Carolina" at 14 characters each if we do not include "Commonwealth of" or any other terminology in the names.

Massachusetts, New Hampshire and West Virginia would all be tied for second place with 13 characters each.

However, if we only counted letters and not spaces Massachusetts would be caught in a three-way tie with North Carolina and South Carolina at 13 characters each.

Which U.S. state nickname is the longest?

The state with the longest nickname is Vermont. Its nickname is "The Green Mountain State" which is 24 characters long.

Coming in at second place is New Mexico's nickname, "The Land of Enchantment" measuring 23 characters.

As an interesting side-note, despite have the longest state name, Massachusetts has a three-way tie for having the shortest state nickname. Its state nickname is the "The Bay State" measuring 13 characters long. It's tied with Idaho, "The Gem State" and Illinois, "The Prairie State".

It's probably a good thing that Massachusetts has one of the shortest nicknames because it balances out having such a long official name.

Which U.S. territory has the longest name?

The U.S. territory with the longest name is the "Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands" measuring 44 characters or without spaces it would be 39 letters.

The Northern Mariana Islands are made up of 14 islands and are located in the western Pacific Ocean. In fact, it is located just north of Guam, another U.S. territory.

Guam happens to be the U.S. territory with the shortest name, being only four letters.

Fun face: Both Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands have active volcanoes.

If the Northern Mariana Islands ever became a state, it would be the longest name by far, crushing Massachusetts by 16 characters.

Conclusion

To summarize what we covered so far, the "Commonwealth of Massachusetts" technically has the official longest name.

However if we don't count the "Commonwealth of" in the length calculation, North Carolina and South Carolina would be tied for the longest name at 14 characters each.

We hope you enjoyed this article!