Missouri Nickname

Author: Jason Coles

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Nicknames are common for people and sports teams, but why would a U.S. state have a nickname? The 50 States in the U.S. all have special and different qualities that they like to brag about, some of which are used to attract people to the state, whether to live there, or just for a visit, while others are rooted in long-standing history.

Many states developed an initial nickname after they entered the union 100+ years ago, but not all state nicknames have stuck with each state over the years, and many have developed additional nicknames or primary nicknames that they identify with the most or that set them apart from other states. States take their nicknames from various sources so let’s take a look at the Missouri nickname.

Missouri Nickname

What is the Missouri nickname? It is The Show-Me State

The Show-Me State is located in the Midwestern region of the United States, covering an area of 112,167 square miles, Missouri is comprised of 114 counties and one independent city. Missouri borders 8 other states, yes, that is a lot of other states! Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska.

Missouri State Nickname

The Missouri state nickname was first adopted in 1899, approximately 78 years after the state’s inception. Over the years there have been many theories concerning the origins of this nickname, the most feasible reason for this famous nickname’s adoption is that in 1899, Missouri’s US Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver made reference to this phrase during a speech in Philadelphia. Here’s what he said:

“I come from a state that raises corn and cotton and cockleburs and Democrats, and frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I am from Missouri. You have got to show me.”

The phrase and subsequently, the Missouri nickname, is now used to describe the character of Missourians (people of Missouri) past and present. The people of the Show-Me State are known for their non-gullible, conservative, and unwillingness to believe without evidence attitudes.

While Missouri has always been known for its expansive rivers, beautiful landscapes, and famous barbeques, the origin of “Show Me” lies with the people of the state, and despite the nickname being over 100 years old, it is still the main nickname used to associate Missouri and still appears on license plates throughout the state.

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.

What is Missouri’s Nickname

Like many other states, Missouri has multiple nicknames used to identify the state. Obviously, the main nickname of “Show-Me State” takes the spotlight in comparison, but there are many states that are better known for some non-official nicknames they have adopted over the years. It is no secret that the other Missouri nicknames are not as famous as Missouri’s nickname (Show-Me State), but they are still worth knowing.

  • The Cave State – this nickname references the abundance of caves found in Missouri. Over 5,600 caves have been officially discovered, with at least 20 of these caves being public “show” caves, meaning you must have a tour guide to access them.
  • The Lead State – this Missouri state nickname was derived from the state’s lead production. The United States has always been known for its lead production, and Missouri’s is and has been one of the main producing states. “The Old Lead Belt”, located in the eastern Ozark Mountains helped Missouri establish itself as one of the world’s mining hotspots.
  • The Bullion State – it has been said that this nickname originated with Thomas Hart Benton. The first-ever Missouri Senator, Mr. Benton was elected for five terms, becoming the first man to serve 30 years in the US Senate. He was a popular figure in the US and was known as “Old Bullion”.
  • The Ozark State – this nickname originates from paying homage to the iconic Ozark Mountains.
  • The Iron Mountain State – this nickname originates from the Iron Mountain, the Mountain was named this because of the plethora of iron ore at the Mountains disposal, which subsequently helped build not just Missouri’s economy, but the United States economy.

What is Missouri’s Slogan?

Now that you know Missouri’s nickname (and all other variations), it makes sense to take a look at the question, what is Missouri’s slogan? All states have a unique state motto/slogan, usually derived from an event linked with the state’s historical past, mottos tend to be given to the state as a representation of the people past and present.

What is Missouri’s Slogan? It is “Salus Populi Suprema Lex Esto”

“Salus Populi Suprema Lex Esto”, this Latin phrase translates to “Let the welfare of the people be the supreme law.” This powerful motto pays respects to the Missourians and their unique attitude and perspective on life. Putting people’s welfare before anything else. You can find this famous motto on the official state seal that features on our Missouri state symbols page.

Missouri’s nickname, as well as many other interesting facts, appear on our official Missouri facts page, check it out for some fun facts about the state that you probably didn’t know about!

If you are interested in learning about the Missouri State abbreviation, take a look at our page dedicated to this. The Missouri postal abbreviation is often confused with other states that have similar letters in them, knowing and memorizing these state abbreviations is highly recommended for a multitude of reasons.

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 1,345 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.