Origin of "Massachusetts"

Massachusetts State Name Origin


American Indian Moccasin

American Indian Moccasin. The term Moccasin originates from the Algonquian language Powhatan word makasin (cognate to Massachusett mohkisson/mokussin, Ojibwa makizin, Mi'kmaq m'kusun); photo by Arjay on Flickr (noncommercial use permitted with attribution / no derivative works).

What does "Massachusetts" mean?

The name Massachusetts comes from the language of the Algonquian Indians of the Massachusetts Bay area; translated roughly as "at or about the great hill." Possible interpretations of the exact origin of the word Massachusetts:

Messatossec: Great hills mouth.

Mess or mass: Great.

Atsco, as chu, or wad chu: Hill.

Sec, sac or saco: Mouth.

Massawachusett: Great mountain place.

Massa: Great.

Wachusett: Mountain place.

Moswetuset: Indian arrowhead (descriptive of the Great Blue Hill region, south of Boston).



Massachusetts USA (public domain image).

Massachusetts USA

Geology and topography map of Massachusetts from USGS.