My, my, there are a lot of M’s

the Missouri Compromise of 1820

Maine.War Of 1812When my daughter was learning the states, she listed them semi-alphabetically: the 4 A states, 3 C states, et al. The M’s were the hardest because there are eight of them. There are eight N states too, but four of them are “New” and two of them are “North”.

And on the abbreviation list, there are even more M’s

MA Massachusetts, US state and commonwealth in New England. Home of the father-and-son second and sixth Presidents, John Adams and John Quincy Adams, respectively. Capital and largest city: Boston. The traditional abbreviation was Mass, which I remember even though the Puritans were hostile to Roman Catholicism. We’ve been to the state a LOT.

MB Manitoba, a Canadian prairie province. The abbreviation is the first letters of the first and fourth (last) syllables. No other combination would work without being confused with a US state. The capital and largest city is Winnipeg.

MD Maryland, US east coast state. The abbreviation is the first and last letter, and it used to be Md. I remember that because of Johns Hopkins is a noted hospital in Baltimore, and Walter Reed is a once-troubled medical facility in Bethesda. The capital is Annapolis, the home of the US Navy. The largest city is Baltimore. We’ve stayed at a hotel in the state, but haven’t spent quality time there.

ME Maine, US state in New England. The abbreviation is the first and last letter, which was what used to be if they bothered to shorten it at all. Maine used to be part of Massachusetts until it became a state in 1819. The capital is Augusta. The largest city is Portland, where my then-fiancee and I were stranded in a snowstorm in March 1999.


MH Marshall Islands, a Freely associated state in the Pacific. What? “The Compact of Free Association (COFA) is an international agreement establishing and governing the relationships of free association between the US and three Pacific Island nations.” This is a complicated and occasionally contentious relationship beyond what I can address here. Capital and largest city: Majuro.

MI Michigan, US state in the Midwest. It was historically abbreviated Mich before it was altered to the first two letters. One of the five Great Lakes is in Michigan, but I won’t tell you which one. That’s why there’s an Upper Penisula and Lower Peninsula. The capital is Lansing. The largest city is Detroit, the original home of Motown Records, which I have visited, along with the Henry Ford Museum and the now-razed Tigers Stadium.

MM As far as I know, there is no MM. There are M&Ms, a candy introduced in 1941. When I buy a small bag, I usually eat them in rainbow order: red, orange, yellow, green, blue and brown.

MN Minnesota, US state in the Midwest. It was formerly abbreviated Minn. Angle, MN is the most northern point in the continental US. The source of the mighty Mississippi is Lake Itasca. The capital is Saint Paul, and the largest city is Minneapolis, which are collectively known as the Twin Cities. I hope to go there in 2021.

MO Missouri, US state in the Midwest. It’s almost always abbreviated Mo., to distinguish it from Mississippi. It entered the Union as a slave state in 1820 as part of the Missouri Compromise. The short-lived Pony Express started in Missouri in 1860. The capital is Jefferson City, and the largest city is Kansas City, where everything’s up to date.

MP Northern Mariana Islands, a Commonwealth (U.S. insular area), like Puerto Rico, but unlike states such as Massachusetts. It’s in the Pacific. Capital and largest city: Saipan.

MS Mississippi, US state in the South. I found it oddly humorous as a teen when I discovered Miss. became MS. I was in the state for a very short time in 1970. Capital and largest city: Jackson.

MT Montana, US state in the West. Formerly Mont., it’s easy to remember because it resides in the Rocky Mountains. Capital: Helena. Largest city: Billings.

M’s for ABC Wednesday

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