- 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.
- 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
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. 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.