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Revision as of 17:59, 4 March 2014

Welcome to the explain xkcd wiki!
We have an explanation for all 1 xkcd comics, and only 26 (1%) are incomplete. Help us finish them!

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Go to this comic explanation

US State Names
Technically DC isn't a state, but no one is too pedantic about it because they don't want to disturb the snakes.
Title text: Technically DC isn't a state, but no one is too pedantic about it because they don't want to disturb the snakes.

Explanation

This is just a silly map.

Randall has taken a map of the United States of America labeled "Geography Challenge: Name all 50 States" and filled in the states with words that sound similar to the states' names. The joke is that Randall is apparently terrible at remembering states by heart, or else that he interpreted "name" as "give a name to" and is giving each state a name similar to but different from its previous name. Songs such as the 50 Nifty United States make these issues seem rarer, thus making it funnier. Below is the table.

This also may be a play on the ambiguity of the phrase "Name all 50 states". When you are asked to "name" something, it can be a request to supply its given name or to come up with a new name for it. Randall has apparently taken the latter interpretation. He also may be playing with the distinction between an object's identity and its label, e.g., "The state of Texas (identity) is named Hexxus (label)", though you can argue that "Texas" is also a label.

This comic is similar to 1759: British Map. Also note that the text at the top of the comic is not in all caps.

Table of States

Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Some states unfinished. Make wikipedia links.
Fictional State Actual State Explanation
Wilwheaton Washington Wil Wheaton is an actor and writer.
Organs Oregon Could refer to either body parts that perform vital functions, or large musical instruments having rows of tuned pipes. Also a reference to Organ Trail, a retro survival video game that parodies The Oregon Trail.
Cafeteria California A cafeteria is both a kind of restaurant and a name for a lunch room that serves food. California is large and diverse, offering a wide variety of choices. California also grows a large proportion of common vegetables available in the US (Source), making it a 'Cafeteria' for the country.
Fallout New Vegas Nevada Fallout New Vegas is a video game set in Nevada.
Idolatry Idaho Idolatry is the worship of a physical object as a god, forbidden in many religions.
mount -a Montana A command to mount all disk volumes.
Wysiwyg Wyoming Acronym for "What You See Is What You Get".
Uhaul Utah U-Haul is a company where you can rent vans.
Verizona Arizona Verizon, a telecommunications company, has the shared text "Rizon" with Arizona (Verizon, Arizona). Randall presumably enjoys this.
Namaste New Mexico Namaste is a Hindu greeting.
Hexxus Texas The antagonist of Ferngully. FernGully is said to be the model for the later film "Avatar". This is the second time Hexxus was mentioned in xkcd, the first occurrence being in 1750: Life Goals.
Okay Oklahoma OK is the state's abbreviation. Okay is a spelling of another abbreviation O.K., which originally stood for "Oll Korrect [sic]".
Candice Kansas Candice is a girl's name of Latin origin, meaning "clarity, whiteness" ("canditia").
Colocated Colorado Refers to computer servers located in a Colocation Center.
Nebrunswick Nebraska New Brunswick, a Canadian province. People sometimes write "NB" as the postal abbreviation for Nebraska; in reality, Nebraska is "NE", and while there is no "NB" in the U.S. postal system, New Brunswick is "NB" in the Canadian postal system.
Dakota South Dakota Randall seems to have forgotten his directions, so he drops the normal "South" and "North". He may also be teasing that this doesn't matter.
More Dakota North Dakota A reference to "More Dakka", a catchphrase by Orks from the Warhammer 40000 universe.
Minestrone Minnesota Minestrone is a thick vegetable soup, originating in Italy.
Wainscot Wisconsin A type of wood panelling covering only the lower half of a wall.
Iota Iowa Iota is the ninth letter of the Greek alphabet. It was derived from the Phoenician letter Yodh. Also colloquially used to mean a very small quantity.
Sk8rbois Illinois "Skater Boys" or just "Skater Boy" if the '-ois' is pronounced the same as it is in "Illinois". Sk8er Boi is a song by Avril Lavigne.
Mossouri Missouri The single different letter represents probably a typo (O is adjacent to I in a keyboard). This typo has about 22,000 results on Google. Alternatively, this could be an attempt to "correct" the spelling of the state name to match its non-intuitive postal abbreviation, MO, which is sometimes used as a pronounceable acronym. Or it could be a reference to Katie Mossouris.
Arkanoids Arkansas An arcade game.
Louisa Louisiana Louisa, feminine of Louis, is an Old German name meaning "famous warrior". Louisiana was of named after King Louis XIV when it was founded as a French colony.
Misstate Mississippi The word "misstate" means to state improperly. "Mis-" is also a prefix meaning "wrong," "incorrect," or simply negating. "Misstate" could be a non-state. Miss State is a university in Mississippi. This may also be a joke on the fact that Mississippi is one of the most commonly misspelled state names.
Bandana Alabama A large handkerchief cloth, worn either around the head or neck. Often used in Westerns.
Thennessy Tennessee Hennessy is a brand of cognac.
Kennedy Kentucky Kennedy Fried Chicken is New York City–based fast food brand that shares its initials with KFC, which was formerly (and still conventionally) Kentucky Fried Chicken.
That Other One Indiana 'That Other One' is something someone might say if they were trying to name all the states from memory, and knew where a state was but not what it was called. Appropriate for Indiana, due to being a state with relatively few distinguishing features.
Mishy Michigan According to the Urban Dictionary, "mishy" means "mushy and horny at the same time". Or it could just be a nickname, the way a lot of people's names, often children, get shortened with a trailing y (Bobby, Becky, Johnny, Missy, Davey, Tony, etc.), with the "ee" sound in the middle of Michigan being the same "ee" sound at the end of the nickname.
Oh Hi Ohio Oh (expression of surprise), Hi (greeting). A common utterance upon meeting an acquaintance unexpectedly.
Pencilmania Pennsylvania Pencil Mania is a 1932 Tom and Jerry cartoon in which they pull out a pencil and proceed to draw figures in the air.
Newark New York The city of Newark is a suburb of New York City, and many people who live in Newark commute the 14 miles to work in New York City, however it is actually located in the state of New Jersey rather than New York. Other references: Newark Liberty International Airport is a major flight hub serving the New York metropolitan area, and Newark element14 (or simply "Newark") is the official distributor of Raspberry Pi. Possible reference to William Gibson's works. A mispronunciation of New York.
Vermouth Vermont Vermouth is an Italian alcoholic beverage.
New Hamper New Hampshire A hamper is a large basket, often with lid, used for laundry. Also another name for a picnic basket.
Spanish Maine Maine The Spanish Main was the mainland Spanish colonial possessions around the Gulf of Mexico.
Masseuses Massachusetts People who give massages professionally.
Roald Dahl Rhode Island A British writer, famous for child novels such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Connectfour Connecticut Connect Four is a two-player game, in which the objective is to connect four of your checkers in a row while preventing your opponent from doing the same. It has already been mentioned in 1002: Game AIs.
Nude Juggalos New Jersey Juggalo is a name given to fans of the group Insane Clown Posse or any other Psychopathic Records hip hop group.
Delorean Delaware A car made famous as the time machine in the Back to the Future movies.
Maybelline Maryland Maybelline is a make-up brand.
District of Colubrids District of Columbia The Colubridae are the biggest family of snakes, accounting for about two thirds of the world's species. As the title text mentions, the District of Columbia, although not part of any state, is technically not a state itself, but is usually labeled on the maps like the 50 others for practical reasons. Here, Randall humorously explains the reason as people not wanting to upset the aforementioned snakes by dismissing their district for this pedantic reason.
Wyvern West Virginia A Wyvern is a mythical creature.
Virjayjay Virginia Virginia is similar to vagina. Vajayjay is slang for vagina.
Sweet Caroline North Carolina A song by Neil Diamond.
South Caroline South Carolina A further reference to song 'Sweet Caroline' by Neil Diamond, similar to 'Dakota' and 'More Dakota.' Plays on similarity between the names 'Caroline' and 'Carolina'.
George Georgia Georgia was named for George II of Great Britain.
Fyoridor Florida Possibly derived from the Russian name Fyodor, as in Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
Alberta Alaska A Canadian province.
Kawaii Hawaii A Japanese term for cute commonly romanized similar to Hawaii. Possible reference to the 1957 war movie The Bridge on the River Kwai. Not to be confused with Kauai, a Hawaiian island.

Transcript

Ambox notice.png This transcript is incomplete. Please help editing it! Thanks.

[A map of the United States, with incorrect state names. A title:]

Geography challenge:

Name all 50 States

| Alabama => Bandana |

| Alaska => Alberta |

| Arizona => Verizona |

| Arkansas => Arkanoids |

| California => Cafeteria |

| Colorado => Colocated |

| Connecticut => Connect Four |

| Delaware => Delorean |

| District of Columbia => District of Colubrids |

| Florida => Fyoridor |

| Georgia => George |

| Hawaii => Kawaii |

| Idaho => Idolatry |

| Illinois => SK8RBOIS |

| Indiana => That Other One |

| Iowa => Iota |

| Kansas => Candice |

| Kentucky => Kennedy |

| Louisiana => Loisa |

| Maine => Spanish Maine |

| Maryland => Maybelline |

| Massachusetts => Masseuses |

| Michigan => Mishy |

| Minnesota => Minestrone |

| Mississippi => Misstate |

| Missouri => Mossouri |

| Montana => mount -a |

| Nebraska => Nebrunswick |

| Nevada => Fallout New Vegas |

| New Hampshire => New Hamper |

| New Jersey => Nude Juggalos |

| New Mexico => Namaste |

| New York => Newark |

| North Carolina => Sweet Caroline |

| South Carolina => South Caroline |

| Ohio => Oh Hi |

| Oklahoma => Okay |

| Oregon => Organs |

| Pennsylvania => Pencilmania |

| Rhode Island => Roald Dahl |

| South Dakota => Dakota |

| /North Dakota => More Dakota |

| Tennessee => Thennessy |

| Texas => Hexxus |

| Utah => Uhaul |

| Vermont => Vermouth |

| Virginia => Virjayjay |

| Washington => Willwheaton |

| West Virginia => Wyvern |

| Wisconsin => Wainscot |

| Wyoming => WYSIWYG |


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Lots of people contribute to make this wiki a success. Many of the recent contributors, listed above, have just joined. You can do it too! Create your account here.

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