Chicago: What’s In a Name?

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People have called Chicago “the Windy City” for more than a century. But while the city tends to get gusty, the origin of the nickname actually refers to something other than the blustery breezes that blow through from Lake Michigan.

The term caught on in the late 1800s when Chicago and New York City competed to hold the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. An editor of the New York Sun wrote a piece calling Chicago windy because its politicians were “full of hot air.” However, the story comes with a glitch: the editorial from the now-defunct newspaper has not been found, sparking rumors of it being a legend. But as with most lore, if repeated long enough, people accept it as truth.

While its origin remains unclear, Chicago’s nickname has stood the test of time, still used today by many – just ask them which definition of “windy” they mean.


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