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is a nickname for people from the state of Connecticut
Connecticut is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is bordered by Rhode Island to the east, Massachusetts to the north, and the state of New York to the west and the south .Connecticut is named for the Connecticut River, the major U.S. river that approximately...
. The official nickname for Connecticut is "The Constitution State", as voted in 1958 by the Connecticut state legislature; however "The Nutmeg State" is an unofficial nickname for the state, hence the nickname "Nutmegger".
The origin of the appellation is unknown. One theory is that it comes from Yankee
The term Yankee has several interrelated and often pejorative meanings, usually referring to people originating in the northeastern United States, or still more narrowly New England, where application of the term is largely restricted to descendants of the English settlers of the region.The...
peddlers selling nutmeg
The nutmeg tree is any of several species of trees in genus Myristica. The most important commercial species is Myristica fragrans, an evergreen tree indigenous to the Banda Islands in the Moluccas of Indonesia...
s in colonial times. These nutmegs may have been the real thing, i.e., the hard aromatic seed of the nutmeg tree (Myristica fragrans
), an East Indian evergreen tree, or counterfeit wooden nutmegs; or, as has been suggested, they were the real thing but customers unfamiliar with the native form of the spice might have decided they had been sold a counterfeit after futilely trying to grind the unusually hard seed.
A popular newspaper column in the 1830s was "The Sayings and Doings of Samuel Slick
Sam Slick was a character created by Thomas Chandler Haliburton, a Canadian judge and author. With his wry wit and Yankee voice, Sam Slick of Slicksville put forward his views on "human nature" in a regular column in the Novascotian, beginning in 1835...
, of Slickville", which has been often cited as the source of this legend. The original story was:
"...that eternal scoundrel, that Captain John Allspice of Nahant, he used to trade to Charleston, and he carried a cargo once there of fifty barrels of nutmegs: well, he put half a bushel of good ones into each end of the barrel, and the rest he filled up with wooden ones, so like the real thing, no soul could tell the difference until HE BIT ONE WITH HIS TEETH, and that he never thought of doing, until he was first BIT HIMSELF. Well, its been a standing joke with them southerners agin us ever since."
The term "nutmegger" is also used about people who often use nutmeg recreationally.