Unknown; possibly from Plains Apache ídaahȩ́́, though the Oxford English Dictionary states that the development of the state’s name from that word remains undocumented. The name Idaho was said to have been considered around 1860 for what was eventually called the Colorado Territory (now the state of Colorado) in 1861, and in 1863 was given to Idaho County (now part of Idaho); the county was named after a steamship launched on the Columbia River in 1860.
The eccentric political lobbyist George Maurice Willing, Jr. ( – 1874) claimed to have coined the name after a girl named Ida, though saying it was a Shoshoni term meaning “gem of the mountains” (no such term exists), but evidence suggests that there was use of the name in Colorado pre-dating Willing’s arrival in the West in 1859.
The common noun (“type of potato”) is derived from the name of the state.
Modern English dictionary
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