List of U.S. county name etymologies (N–R)

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This is a list of U.S. county name etymologies, covering the letters N to R.


County name State Origin
Nacogdoches County Texas Named for the Nacogdoche tribe of Caddo Native Americans.
Nance County Nebraska Named after Governor Albinus Nance.[1]
Town and County of Nantucket Massachusetts Nantucket takes its name from a word in an Eastern Algonquian language of southern New England, originally spelled variously as natocke, nantaticut, nantican, and nautican. The meaning of the term is uncertain, although it may have meant "in the midst of waters," or "far away island."[2]
Napa County California

An Indian word, uncertain origin, many plausible possibilities.

Nash County North Carolina Named for Brigadier General Francis Nash, who had been mortally wounded at the Battle of Germantown.
Nassau County Florida Named for the Duchy of Nassau in Germany.
Nassau County New York Named after an old name for Long Island, which was named Nassau after William of Nassau, Prince of Orange (who later became King William III of England.)
Natchitoches Parish Louisiana Named for the Natchitoches tribe of Native Americans.
Natrona County Wyoming

Named for the natron, or soda deposits in the county.

Navajo County Arizona

named for the Navajo Indian tribe

Navarro County Texas Named for José Antonio Navarro, a Tejano leader in the Texas Revolution who signed the Texas Declaration of Independence.
Nelson County Kentucky Named for Thomas Nelson, Jr. a Virginia Governor who signed the Declaration of Independence.
Nelson County North Dakota

for Nelson E. Nelson, a ND legislator at the time.

Nelson County Virginia Named for Thomas Nelson, Jr. a Virginia Governor who signed the Declaration of Independence.
Nemaha County Kansas

from the Otoe Indian word nimaha 'murky water.'

Nemaha County Nebraska

from the Otoe Indian word 'murky water.'

Neosho County Kansas

Osage Indian 'cold, clear water' or 'main river,'

Neshoba County Mississippi Neshoba, derived from the Choctaw word nashoba, means Wolf. [3]
Ness County Kansas Named for Corporal Noah V. Ness of the Seventh Kansas Cavalry. Ness died of wounds suffered at the Battle of Abbeyville in Mississippi in August 1864.[4]
Nevada County Arkansas Named for the State of Nevada.
Nevada County California named after the mining town of Nevada City, a name derived from the term "Sierra Nevada." The word nevada in Spanish means "snowy" or "snowcovered."[5]
New Castle County Delaware

for William Cavendish, 1st Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne

New Hanover County North Carolina Named for the House of Hanover.
New Haven County Connecticut Named after its largest city and county seat, New Haven.
New Kent County Virginia Named for the county of Kent, England.
New London County Connecticut Named after the county seat, New London, which is named for London, England.
New Madrid County Missouri Named after a district located in the region that was once under Spanish rule, Nuevo Madrid, after the city of Madrid, Spain.
New York County New York New York is named after James, Duke of York, who renamed New Amsterdam after himself shortly after the British takeover in 1664. The county name also refers to the fact that New York City was wholly contained in the county until it combined with other areas in the 1880s. New York County today is thus simply referred to as Manhattan, the island that forms almost all the area of the county.
Newaygo County Michigan Derived from then name of a Chippewa chief who signed the Treaty of Saginaw or from a Native American word meaning "much water."
Newberry County South Carolina Unknown
Newport County Rhode Island Descriptive, recalling Newport, Monmouthshire, Wales
City of Newport News Virginia Not known with any certainty. See the "Name" section of the city's article for possibilities.
Newton County Arkansas Named for Thomas W. Newton, an Arkansas Congressman.
Newton County Georgia Named after Sgt. John Newton of the American Revolutionary War.
Newton County Indiana
Newton County Mississippi Named for Sir Isaac Newton.
Newton County Missouri Named after Sgt. John Newton of the American Revolutionary War.
Newton County Texas
Nez Perce County Idaho Named for the Nez Percé tribe of Native Americans.
Niagara County New York Derived from the Indian word Onguiaahra meaning the straight or thunder of waters.[6]
Nicholas County Kentucky Named for George Nicholas, the "Father of the Kentucky Constitution".
Nicholas County West Virginia Named for Virginia Governor Wilson Cary Nicholas.
Nicollet County Minnesota Named for Joseph Nicolas Nicollet, a geographer-explorer.
Niobrara County Wyoming

Omaha–Ponca languageIndian 'spreading water river.'

Noble County Indiana Named for James Noble, the first U.S. Senator from Indiana.
Noble County Ohio Named for Rep. Warren P. Noble of the Ohio House of Representatives, who was an early settler there.
Noble County Oklahoma

for John W. Noble, Secretary of the Interior

Nobles County Minnesota Named for William H. Nobles, a member of the Territorial Legislature.
Nodaway County Missouri Named for the Nodaway River.
Nolan County Texas Named for Philip Nolan, one of the first American traders to visit Texas.
Nome Census Area Alaska
City of Norfolk Virginia Named for the county of Norfolk, England.
Norfolk County Massachusetts
Norman County Minnesota In honor of the large number of Norwegians, or Normans, who settled in this county.
North Slope Borough Alaska Named for the Alaska North Slope, a region on the northern slope of the Brooks Range.
Northampton County North Carolina Named for James Compton, 5th Earl of Northampton.
Northampton County Pennsylvania For Northamptonshire, England,
Northampton County Virginia for Spencer Compton, 2nd Earl of Northampton
Northumberland County Pennsylvania Named for the county of Northumberland, England.
Northumberland County Virginia
Northwest Arctic Borough Alaska
City of Norton Virginia Named in 1890 after Eckstein Norton, then president of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad.
Norton County Kansas Named for Orloff Norton.
Nottoway County Virginia From the Nottoway Tribe of Native Americans.
Nowata County Oklahoma From the Lenape word "nuwita," meaning "friendly" or "welcome."
Noxubee County Mississippi Derived from the Choctaw word nakshobi, meaning to stink.[3]
Nuckolls County Nebraska Named after Stephen F. Nuckolls, an early pioneer in this area.[7]
Nueces County Texas Named for the Nueces River, whose name comes from the Spanish word for walnuts or pecans.
Nye County Nevada Named in honor of James W. Nye, first governor of the Nevada Territory and later U.S. Senator from the state.




County name State Origin
Quay County New Mexico Named for Pennsylvania senator Matthew Quay, who supported New Mexican statehood.[10]
Queen Anne's County Maryland Named for Anne, Queen of Great Britain, who reigned when the county was established in 1706.
Queens County New York Named for the then-queen consort, Catherine of Braganza, the Catholic wife of Charles II.
Quitman County Georgia Named after General John A. Quitman, leader in the Mexican War, and two-time Governor of Mississippi.
Quitman County Mississippi


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Nance County". Nebraska Association of County Officials. Retrieved 2010-05-25.
  2. ^ Huden, John C. (1962). Indian Place Names of New England. New York: Museum of the American Indian. Cited in: Bright, William (2004). Native American Place Names in the United States. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, pg. 312
  3. ^ a b Byington, Cyrus (1909). Choctaw Language Dictionary. Global Bible Society. 
  4. ^ Kansas Place-Names,John Rydjord, University of Oklahoma Press, 1972, ISBN 0-8061-0994-7
  5. ^ "Nevada County History". US Gen Web Project in California. Retrieved 2010-05-25. 
  6. ^ Retrieved 2010-05-25
  7. ^ [1] Retrieved 2010-05-25.
  8. ^ "History of Ocean County". Ocean County Cultural and Heritage Commission. Retrieved 2007-05-09. 
  9. ^ "The Lenape Language". Retrieved 2007-05-09. 
  10. ^ Historical Sidebar: New Mexico Counties, Viva New Mexico!, c. 1996. Accessed 2008-05-01.
  11. ^ "Rock county [origin of place name]". Wisconsin Historical Society. Retrieved 2008-10-16.