Word Origin & History
poetic name for United States of America, earlier for the British colonies there, 1730s, also the nation's female personification, from name of Christopher Columbus
(also see Colombia
) with Latin "country" ending -ia. A popular name for places
and institutions in the U.S. in the post-Revolutionary years, when former tributes to king and crown were out of fashion: e.g. Columbia University (New York, U.S.) founded in 1754 as King's College; re-named 1784. Also District of Columbia (1791, as Territory of Columbia); "Hail, Columbia" (1798).