What's in a name? What does Illinois mean? Where did the term/name "Illinois" come from? Does Illinois "really" mean something filthy? (kidding) CultureTrip

Let's answer all these questions and more! To be honest, I seriously had no idea where the name Illinois came from. I'm sure we were taught that in school at some point, I was probably tardy that day.

Let's start with HOW to say it...This says it all:

Illinois is a beautiful, big state, and anyone who lives in it can proudly pronounce it correctly. That’s Illi-noy—no pesky “s” at the end. - CultureTrip

I have friends from out of state that use the 's,' don't do that. OK, where did Illinois come from?

Illinois was named after the Illinois River, by some French dude explorer dude named  René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle. Thanks René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, appreciate you not naming the river after yourself.

Turns out he was just trying to map the rivers and waterways for himself and others, so thoughful. He would go places, see what was there, notice the people and what was around...and name it. La Salle sailed the river in 1679, and crossed paths with a lot of Native Americans.

"Illinois" is actually the FRENCH way of saying what he named the river. The term/name Illinois comes from the Native American word “iliniwok” or “illiniwek.” What does that mean? “Best people.” That's so cool, René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle...We should be Facebook friends...or not.

LOOK: Here are the 25 best places to live in Illinois

Stacker compiled a list of the best places to live in Illinois using data from Niche. Niche ranks places to live based on a variety of factors including cost of living, schools, health care, recreation, and weather. Cities, suburbs, and towns were included. Listings and images are from realtor.com.

On the list, there's a robust mix of offerings from great schools and nightlife to high walkability and public parks. Some areas have enjoyed rapid growth thanks to new businesses moving to the area, while others offer glimpses into area history with well-preserved architecture and museums. Keep reading to see if your hometown made the list.

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