14 Nicknames for America and the Stories Behind Them

6 min read

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A large statue in the middle of a harbor near a city with skyscrapers
The history and culture of the US have led to the creation of many monikers

The US is a world-renowned country filled with diverse landscapes, cultures, and histories. Beyond its iconic landmarks and storied past, this vast nation has earned itself an array of nicknames that reflect its multifaceted identity.

While many of the nicknames for America relate to its founding and early history, others highlight the opportunities the country offers, its cultural diversity, and its national symbols. If you're interested in learning more about the many alternate names for the United States, keep reading for 14 fascinating nicknames and the history behind them.

14 USA Nicknames

An eagle in flight with snow-covered mountains in the background
The bald eagle, native to North America, is the emblem of the United States


While not a common nickname, Eagleland will make sense to most. The American bald eagle is the country's national bird and has been since 1782.

In addition, the country is home to a vast population of these eagles, with estimates suggesting there are around 300,000 American bald eagles across the country. Due to this bird's prevalence in American symbolism and habitats, the moniker Eagleland is fitting!


Murica, sometimes spelled Merica, is a colloquial name for the United States. It's often used jokingly and even in a derogatory way. This name has become popular after frequent use across the internet, especially in memes. It's mentioned almost as much by those outside the states as those living there.

City skyscrapers near a body of water on a bright day
Some nicknames for America, like the City on a Hill, date to the 17th century

The City on a Hill

One of the more historical American nicknames is the City on a Hill, sometimes called the City on a Hill or Shining City Upon a Hill. This name dates back to the 17th century when John Winthrop called the US a "city on a hill" before embarking with other Massachusetts Bay colonists to Boston. Due to this, it's also a well-known Boston nickname.

Since its first use in 1630, it's been featured in many other US settings, especially in politics, including in speeches by Ronald Reagan, JFK, and Barack Obama.

The Empire of Liberty

The Empire of Liberty is another historical moniker. This name is related to Thomas Jefferson and his desire to spread freedom and liberty across the world. The phrase was first mentioned by Jefferson in 1780 while the American Revolutionary War was still in process. It has since been linked to other political events, like the creation of the Monroe Doctrine.

A bricked pathway leading to a bricked archway entrance of a fort with a US flag
Many historic battles and wars have inspired the moniker, the Home of the Brave

The Home of the Brave

The US is often called the Home of the Brave due to its national anthem. The country's anthem features the line "O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave." Since the anthem's creation in 1814, this closing line has become a stand-alone patriotic moniker, highlighting the braveness of Americans through various wars and historical events.

The Land of Opportunity

One of the well-known nicknames for the United States is the Land of Opportunity. This moniker relates to the many opportunities available in the country, especially careerwise, and the ease at which people can move upwards socioeconomically.

It also relates to the American Dream idea, which suggests anyone can make it in the US. Both the American Dream and the Land of Opportunity have been used to attract immigrants over the last few hundred years. While still heard quite a lot today, many would say the meanings behind it don't necessarily hold true.

A bricked building with a tower in the middle near trees and flowers
America's fight for liberty and freedom was achieved with independence in the 1700s

The Land of the Free

Like the Home of the Brave, the Land of the Free is a nickname that comes from the US national anthem. This moniker highlights the United States as a land that looks to offer citizens liberty and freedom.

This desire for freedom was instilled in the Founding Fathers while fighting in the American Revolutionary War to gain freedom and independence from the British. It also relates to the War of 1812, which inspired Francis Scott Key to write the line in his Star Spangled Banner lyrics.

The Melting Pot

While the Melting Pot isn't the most well-known United States nickname, it has been used since mass immigration to the country began in the 19th century. The term melting pot relates to a diverse and multicultural place made up of people of many races, religions, and cultures, which describes the US quite well.

The US has also been called a Mosaic or Kaleidoscope to denote the same things as Melting Pot. You may have also heard Melting Pot used as a nickname for NYC due to its diverse population.

A house and fences made of wood near short walls made of mud on lush grass
The first Europeans in America coined the name the New World

The New World

The New World is one of the oldest nicknames related to the United States. Explorers of the 15th and 16th centuries, like Christopher Columbus and Amerigo Vespucci (who the Americas were named after), first used this term in relation to all of the Americas, including what is now the United States.

As Europeans were discovering this new land for the first time, they coined it as a New World. Today, this name isn't heard much in relation to the United States, but most recognize it.

The Stars and Stripes

The design of the flag of the United States is the reasoning behind the name the Stars and Stripes. The flag features 13 horizontal stripes in alternating red and white to depict the original 13 colonies and white stars on a blue background, with one for each state.

The flag was created in the 1770s and has had 27 updates, mainly to add new stars as new states were admitted. As many Americans are highly patriotic and look upon their flag fondly, the Stars and Stripes nickname for the country was developed.

A large white building with pillars and a tall wide dome in the middle
U.S. of A. is a colloquial name that is used by many both in and out of the US

U.S. of A.

The U.S. of A is simply a shortened way of saying the United States of America. While many opt for just USA, U.S. of A is often used in a more fun and colloquial manner than USA.

Uncle Sam / Uncle Sam's Country

Uncle Sam is a personification of the United States Government or the country as a whole. The name also signifies the US, as the name begins with U and S.

This symbol was created around the 19th century, most likely during the War of 1812. The name Sam is thought to be connected to Samuel Wilson, a meatpacker who gave rations to soldiers during the War of 1812.

The slogan, along with the character associated with it (a tall man with a grey beard and a top hat), has been seen in various political campaigns and advertisements, including advertisements recruiting soldiers for WWI and WWII. While this character isn't used much in current political campaigning, Uncle Sam remains well-known, and both Uncle Sam and Uncle Sam's Country remain nicknames for the US.

Some nicknames for America, like the Great Experiment, are linked to its founders
The Great Experiment was a phrase used frequently by George Washington

The Great Experiment

The Great Experiment is one of the nicknames linked to George Washington. He and other Founding Fathers used the phrase a few times when discussing the creation of the United States. It related to trying to create a country based on new ideals and rules that countries in the past had not followed.

Unfortunately, this new way of governing was not very fair or equal. It exclusively favored white male colonists and allowed for slavery as well as severe hostility against Native Americans and other groups. While not used as a casual nickname today, the moniker remains heard in a historical context in academic circles when discussing the birth of the United States.

The States

The States is simply a shortened and informal way of saying the United States of America. This moniker is more frequently used by people who live outside of the country than by US residents. However, some Americans will refer to their country as "the States" in conversation.

In Conclusion

Due to being such a large and globally recognized country, it's not surprising that there are many United States nicknames to learn about. While numerous monikers center on the country's early history, others highlight modern-day characteristics, like being a diverse nation with many cultural symbols.

Having read this article, you should now have a good understanding of the most renowned alternate names for the US and their background. You may even have been inspired to plan a trip to the country to learn more about its history and culture!

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Written by Alli Sewell

allisewell FORMER WRITER Currently based in Canada, Alli has also lived and worked in the UK and Brazil and traveled in North and South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. She loves finding the best photo-ops and food and drink locations wherever she goes.

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