Preserving the Past, Informing the Future
|Skip Navigation Links|
The "Constitution State"
Connecticut's official nickname is the "Constitution State". According to the Connecticut State Register and Manual, 1998, p. 832:
"Connecticut was designated the Constitution State by the General Assembly in 1959. As early as the 19th Century, John Fiske, a popular historian from Connecticut made the claim that the Fundamental Orders of 1638/1639 were the first written constitution in history. Some contemporary historians dispute Fiske's analysis. However, Simeon E. Baldwin, a former Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court, defended Fiske's view of the Fundamental Orders in Osborn's History of Connecticut in Monographic Form by stating that 'never had a company of men deliberately met to frame a social compact for immediate use, constituting a new and independent commonwealth, with definite officers, executive and legislative, and prescribed rules and modes of government, until the first planters of Connecticut came together for their great work on January 14th, 1638-39.'
However, Connecticut is also sometimes referred to as:
The "Nutmeg State"
According to the book State Names, Flags, Seals, Songs, Birds, Flowers, and Other Symbols by George Earlie Shankle (New York: H.W. Wilson Company, 1941):
"The sobriquet, the Nutmeg State, is applied to Connecticut because its early inhabitants had the reputation of being so ingenious and shrewd that they were able to make and sell wooden nutmegs. Sam Slick (Judge Halliburton) seems to be the originator of this story. Some claim that wooden nutmegs were actually sold, but they do not give either the time or the place."
Yankee peddlers from Connecticut sold nutmegs, and an alternative story is that:
"Unknowing buyers may have failed to grate nutmegs, thinking they had to be cracked like a walnut. Nutmegs are wood, and bounce when struck. If southern customers did not grate them, they may very well have accused the Yankees of selling useless "wooden" nutmegs, unaware that they wear down to a pungent powder to season pies and breads." Elizabeth Abbe, Librarian, the Connecticut Historical Society; Connecticut Magazine, April 1980.
Another good source for information on how Connecticut got this nickname is Connecticut: the Provision State by Chester M. Destler (Connecticut Bicentennial Series; no. 5. Chester, CT: Pequot Press, 1973.).
The "Land of Steady Habits"
A Dictionary of Americanisms on Historical Principles, edited by Mitford M. Mathews (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1951) defines "Land of Steady Habits" as "1. Connecticut, applied in allusion to the strict morals of its inhabitants," (page 954).
According to Webster's New International Dictionary, 1993, a person who is a native or resident of Connecticut is a "Connecticuter".
There are numerous other terms in print, but not in use, such as:
"Connecticotian" - Cotton Mather in 1702.
"Connecticutensian" - Samuel Peters in 1781.
"Nutmegger" is sometimes used. It is derived from the nickname, the Nutmeg State, based on the practice of the Connecticut peddlers who traveled about selling nutmegs.
There is not, however, any nickname that has been officially adopted by the State for its residents.
Prepared by the History and Genealogy Unit, Connecticut State Library. Revised 2-04.