Governor John Kasich of the GREAT, GREAT, GREAT State of Ohio called to congratulate me on the win. The people of Ohio were incredible!

The above recent quote comes from the president of the USA, Mr Donald Trump.

What do people actually mean when they talk about "The Great State of ..."?
I don't think they're referring to the vastness of the land.

In a court of law especially, people seem to love to use this expression!


1 Answer 1


The Great State of [INSERT STATE NAME] is a common phrase used by American politicians and federal courts. It's just a formal, polite, respectful way of referring to a colleague's home state. One can also refer to his or her own state as "great," --- a sign of pride in representing the citizens of that state.

Great does not refer to size necessarily (unless the state happens to be large). The meaning of "great" is purposefully vague. Every state is known for doing something well or being important in some way, and it is understood that all states are meaningful and wonderful and unique. Except maybe Rhode Island.

  • Why would you exclude Rhode Island?
    – user44989
    Commented Aug 20, 2017 at 20:02
  • 2
    Just a bad joke. It's one of the smallest states and easy to pick on. I have a friend from Rhode Island and I always ask him if it's been annexed by Massachusetts yet. They do have a few contributions to American food. They invented tiny hot dogs, a certain type of lemonade, and something called "coffeemilk," which I think is just coffee with milk in it.
    – Ringo
    Commented Aug 20, 2017 at 20:07
  • 4
    Most Americans would understand the Rhode Island joke right away.
    – J.R.
    Commented Aug 20, 2017 at 22:07
  • 1
    One or two Alabamans might realize the Rhode Island remark was a joke, the rest, probably not. Oregonians would be too cool to laugh at it.
    – TimR
    Commented Aug 20, 2017 at 23:08

You must log in to answer this question.