In the 1992 film Wayne's World, singer-songwriter Alice Cooper explains that the name Milwaukee comes from the Algonquian word millioke, meaning "the good land". However, that's only one theory, and most etymologists consider the origin uncertain (the other major explanation is that it comes from the Potawatomi word minwaking, meaning "gathering place"). The word was first attested in the late seventeenth century, and the spelling at the time was all over the place: early attestations included Melloki, Milwogue, Miskoumina, Melecki, Wilakie, Waillawaky, Milwacky, Milwaukie, and Milwauke. Throughout the 1800s, Milwaukie and Milwaukee were still used at about equal frequency, and it only got standardized when the city was officially established in 1846. The demonym Milwaukeean emerged around the same time, originally with the spelling Milwaukiean.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a junior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.