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Des Moines

[duh moin] /də ˈmɔɪn/
a city in and the capital of Iowa, in the central part, on the Des Moines River.
a river flowing SE from SW Minnesota through Iowa to the Mississippi River. About 530 miles (850 km) long.
Related forms
Des Moinesian
[duh moi-nee-uh n] /də ˈmɔɪ ni ən/ (Show IPA),


[ahy-uh-wuh; sometimes ahy-uh-wey] /ˈaɪ ə wə; sometimes ˈaɪ əˌweɪ/
noun, plural Iowas (especially collectively) Iowa for 3.
a state in the central United States: a part of the Midwest. 56,290 sq. mi. (145,790 sq. km).
Capital: Des Moines.
Abbreviation: IA (approved esp. for use with zip code), Ia., Io.
a river flowing SE from N Iowa to the Mississippi River. 291 miles (470 km) long.
a member of an American Indian people originally of Iowa, Missouri, and Minnesota but now of Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Kansas.
the Siouan language spoken by the Iowa Indians. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for Des Moines
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Seventeen railroads radiate from Des Moines, enabling the city to become the wholesale and retail jobbing centre of the State.

  • Des Moines appeared to Bradley to be very great and very noisy.

    A Spoil of Office Hamlin Garland
  • They were moneyless, and decided finally to go to Des Moines where they tried without success to get something to do.

    Gospel Doctrine Joseph F. Smith
  • The pride of Iowa is Des Moines, a city of farm-bred people.

    The Romance of the Reaper Herbert Newton Casson
  • Without further delay they started for the settlements to the southeast along the Des Moines.

    The Spirit Lake Massacre Thomas Teakle
British Dictionary definitions for Des Moines

Des Moines

/də ˈmɔɪn; ˈmɔɪnz/
a city in S central Iowa: state capital. Pop: 196 093 (2003 est)
a river in the N central US, rising in SW Minnesota and flowing southeast to join the Mississippi. Length: 861 km (535 miles)


a state of the N central US, in the Midwest: consists of rolling plains crossed by many rivers, with the Missouri forming the western border and the Mississippi the eastern. Capital: Des Moines. Pop: 2 944 062 (2003 est). Area: 144 887 sq km (55 941 sq miles) Abbreviation Ia., (with zip code) IA
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
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Word Origin and History for Des Moines

city in Iowa, U.S., named for French Rivière des Moines, the river that flows past it, which traditionally is derived from French des moines "of the monks," in reference to missionaries, but this probably is a fur trappers' folk-etymologizing of a name of the native people who lived there.

The place appears in a 1673 text as Moinguena, and historians believe this represents Miami-Illinois mooyiinkweena, literally "shitface," from mooy "excrement" + iinkwee "face;" a name given by the Peoria Indians (whose name has itself become a sort of insult) to their western neighbors. It is not unusual for Indian peoples to have hostile or derogatory names for others, but this seems an extreme case.


organized as a U.S. territory 1838; admitted as a state 1846, ultimately from the name of the native people, of the Chiwere branch of the Aiouan family; said to be from Dakota ayuxba "sleepy ones."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Des Moines in Culture
Des Moines [(duh-moyn)]

Capital of Iowa and largest city in the state.

Iowa definition

State in the midwestern United States bordered by Minnesota to the north, Wisconsin and Illinois to the east, Missouri to the south, and Nebraska and South Dakota to the west. Its capital and largest city is Des Moines.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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