New York state motto - new york flag

New York State Motto


The New York state motto "Excelsior" is a Latin motto and in English it means something in the vicinity of "ever upwards", "higer" or "superior".  

The New York motto features as a written statement on New York's state seal and state flag and the New York motto was adopted in the year of 1778.

One interpretation of the message behind the New York motto is that the Latin word "Excelsior" is symbolic for striving for higher goals or ambitiously working towards achieving one's goals.

New York State Nicknames

Whereas there is only one New York motto, there exist a number of state nicknames for New York:

"The Excelsior State"
This nickname is derived from "Excelsior", the New York state motto of the state of New York, meaning "ever upwards".

New York nickname: The Excelsior State

"The Empire State"
This New York state nickname refers to New York's national wealth and global impact. This state nickname was inscribed on New York license places for a little over a decade (from 1951 to mid-1960'ies) and then suddenly reappeared in 2001 and still going strong this very day.

Also the nickname "The Empire State" is the source of inspiration behind the name of The Empire State Building in New York City.

The Empire State Building was the world's tallest building from 1931 till 1972 when The World Trade Center took over the honour of being the tallest building. After the tragedy of 9/11 in 2001, The Empire State Building regained its previous title and is now the tallest building in the State of New York.

New York nickname: The Empire State - picture of the Empire State Building

"The Knickerbocker State"
Back in the early days of settlement on American ground, the first Dutch settlers in New York, supposedly wore pants that today is called "Knickerbocker".

The nickname is German and is made up of "Knicker" (box) and "Bock" (male goat). "Knickerbocker" was made popular in the book "Knickerbocker History of New York" written by American author and historian Washington Irving.

New York State Slogans

Whereas the New York state motto intends to describe the patriotic 'personality' of New York, New York state slogans focus especially on attracting tourists, and as you will see, some do in a serious fashion and some, well, in a less serious fashion:

"I Love New York"
This is the official New York state slogan which can be seen on the Official New York State Tourism Website:

"New York: You Have the Right to Remain Silent, You Have the Right to an Attorney"

"New York ... Is a State of Mind"

"New York is For Lovers"

"New York: Guns Don't Kill People, We Kill People"

"Welcome to New York, the Vampire State"

"New York: New Jersey is Our Bitch"

Some of these New York funny state slogans are sold on t-shirts and stickers.

USA map with New York highlighted