Idaho’s Nickname

Author: Jason Coles

Updated On:

Updated On:

Some of the things that make the U.S unique is the fact that it is made up of 50 individual States, all with their own laws, widely varying climates, landscapes, and cultures.

All these factors culminate into several interesting facts about Idaho, with one of the more notable ones being that despite being landlocked geographically speaking, you can still reach Idaho by sailing from the Pacific Ocean! You can do this by traveling through various river systems, namely the Snake River and Columbia River.

Each state has its own nickname usually derived from an event associated with its historical past, a notable landmark within the State, a cultural icon, or the climate. Let’s take a look at Idaho’s nickname.

Idaho's Nickname

What is Idaho’s nickname? It’s the Gem State.

The Gem State is situated in the North-West of America, bordering Washington, Montana, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, and Canada. Yes, Idaho borders six states and one country!

Idaho’s nickname was officially adopted in the early 1800s when U.S. Congress considered creating and operating a new territory in the Rocky Mountains, named ‘Pikes Peak’.

The influential, and, considered by many, eccentric lobbyist George M. Willing suggested naming this new land Idaho. He believed that the name, “Idaho” had been derived from a Shoshone language term that meant, “Gem of the Mountains”.

If you are interested in seeing the US state nicknames for all 50 states, including the date each state was entered into the Union, then head over to our page that lists them in alphabetical order.

Idaho State Nickname

After George M. Willing was about to be granted his wishes, and have his name bestowed to the region; Congress came to the conclusion that Idaho wasn’t an Indian name, but a name that was a figment of George’s imagination. Instead of Idaho, Congress gifted the territory the name Colorado instead.

Although the bid to name the region Idaho fell through, the name stuck in the minds of many, becoming a commonly used word by many around the country. A mining town located in Colorado even named itself “Idaho Springs”.

Though Idaho had been discarded as a name for the new territory, the name became well known from Washington D.C. to the Pacific northwest. This has subsequently led to Idaho’s state nickname, “Gem in the Mountains”.

Idaho Nickname and Motto

Much the same as other states, Idaho has adopted a motto as well as the Idaho state nickname that represents the state and its people in a multitude of ways, past and present. “Esto Perpetua”, this Latin phrase translates to “let it be perpetual”.

The Idaho motto appears on the back of the 2007 Idaho quarter-dollar coin and originates from a school in Sri Lanka named S. Thomas’ College, which was established in 1851. It also appears on Idaho’s famous state seal, which can be seen on the state flag too.

If you are interested in the Idaho state nickname, chances are you will enjoy learning the Idaho state abbreviation, take a look at our page dedicated to this.

United States Nicknames


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Jason Coles

Jason Coles is the Founder of Foreign USA and its Chief Content Writer and Editor. Recognized as a prolific business plan writer by many prominent immigration attorneys in the U.S. who refer his services to their clients regularly, Jason has written over 1,360 business plans across the past 17+ years for start-up companies and franchises looking to expand their footprint in the United States. Jason is considered a seasoned expert in his field. He creates detailed business plans for his clients that include five-year financial projections, market and industry analysis reports, demographic studies, organizational charts, job descriptions, employee hiring plans, and more.