Cantuckee Origin

Cantuckee Origin


Conflux of the Rivers of Ohio and Licking

By Margaret Strebel Hartman

The word Kah-ten-tah-teh, which means a day, is of the Wyandot tongue.  It may also mean a period of time, and can be used for past or future time.  When shortened to Ken-tah-teh, it means "tomorrow" or "the coming of the day" though it is not the word ordinarily used for those terms; but it cam to be the word used to apply to the Iroquoian possessions on the Ohio and gradually to those on the south side of the Ohio. 

These holdings constituted "The Land of Tomorrow" or "The Land where we will go tomorrow" or "The Land where we will live in the future".  A good translation of the word, as it came to apply to the country of Kentucky, is "The Land of Tomorrow".  The Wyandot word, like other Indian proper names, was corrupted by whites.  Ken-tah-teh easily became Contocky or Cantuckee or Kaintuckee, and finally through various changes, assumed its present form "Kentucky", "The Land of Tomorrow".


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