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Massa-what?

Massa-what?

What do you call residents of the Commonwealth? Take our poll!

Ok, I’ll admit it. I am an outsider who slipped through the western border of Massachusetts. Originally from Minnesota, I knew my state identity and proclaimed it proudly. I was Minnesotan. There was no debate; it was just a title everyone knew and accepted. But now I’m here, intent on making the Commonwealth my forever home, and things are not so clear cut.

There is no state-wide accepted term for us,
the good people of Massachusetts

As Massachusetts is one of the oldest states at 236 years of age (and one known for producing some of the most decisive characters), I expected the term for its seven million residents to have been long-established. Our state is older and wiser than many (we have the fourth highest life expectancy in the nation and around 150 institutions of higher education) and features great minds from around the globe (around 1.2 million residents were born in other countries). Massachusetts is one of just three states to have an official state muffin, for crying out loud! (The corn muffin, as I’m sure you were wondering.)

However, there is no state-wide accepted term for us, the good people of Massachusetts. (Yes, I’m using “us.” I’m part of it now. Let’s move on.)

Massachusettsan sounds odd. The name first ascribed to us in 1650, Massachusian, may do… maybe. But it hasn’t been popular enough to put this debate to bed. Almost three centuries in, there’s the more recent suggestion of Massachusettsonian, which is a bit on the long side. Bay Stater was officially designated by the General Court in 1990, but in my experience seems to only be used by Eastern Massers (Eastern Massachusians? Don’t get me started). And then of course, there’s the saucy but loveable Masshole, which was officially added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2015 (but may be applied more frequently by residents of other states…).

There are a lot of choices here, but none have resolved this conundrum, and this is going to bug me. I need to know what I’m called. Do I identify as a Bay Stater? Maybe, but the actual bay is an hour and a half drive away. What name can cover the Bostonians, Cape year-rounders, hill town farmers, Berkshire dwellers, and crunchy granola lovers of the Happy Valley?

You’re all wicked smaht. So, you tell me: who are we?

Cast your vote and see where you stand with your fellow um… Massa… people.