[pen-suh l-veyn-yuh, -vey-nee-uh]


a state in the E United States. 45,333 sq. mi. (117,410 sq. km). Capital: Harrisburg. Abbreviation: PA (for use with zip code), Pa., Penn., Penna. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pennsylvania

Contemporary Examples of pennsylvania

Historical Examples of pennsylvania

  • In these old times the Mohawk Indians were still numerous in Pennsylvania.

    Biographical Stories

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • I'd suggest, at a hazard guess, some place in the interior of Pennsylvania.

    The Fortune Hunter

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • The history of the Pennsylvania portion of the line reflects no credit on that State.

  • In 1862, the road was opened from Corry to Meadville, Pennsylvania.

  • General Lee was encouraged to assume the offensive, and to invade Pennsylvania.

    The Nation in a Nutshell

    George Makepeace Towle

British Dictionary definitions for pennsylvania



a state of the northeastern US: almost wholly in the Appalachians, with the Allegheny Plateau to the west and a plain in the southeast; the second most important US state for manufacturing. Capital: Harrisburg. Pop: 12 365 455 (2003 est). Area: 116 462 sq km (44 956 sq miles)Abbreviation: Pa, Penn, Penna, (with zip code) PA
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for pennsylvania


American colony, later U.S. state, 1681, literally "Penn's Woods," a hybrid formed from the surname Penn (Welsh, literally "head") + Latin sylvania (see sylvan). Not named for William Penn, the proprietor, but, on suggestion of Charles II, for Penn's late father, Admiral William Penn (1621-1670), who had lent the king the money that was repaid to the son in the form of land for a Quaker settlement in America. The story goes that the younger Penn wanted to call it New Wales, but the king's secretary, a Welshman of orthodox religion, wouldn't hear of it. Pennsylvania Dutch is attested from 1824.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

pennsylvania in Culture


State in the northeastern United States bordered by Lake Erie and New York to the north; New Jersey to the east; Delaware, Maryland, and West Virginia to the south; and Ohio to the west. Its capital is Harrisburg, and its largest city is Philadelphia.


One of the thirteen colonies.


Named after the father of William Penn, a devout Quaker, who was granted proprietary rights by the king of England to almost the whole of what is now Pennsylvania in the late seventeenth century.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.