While doing some online shopping, I received a notice that said

Estimated Economy Delivery (delivered via USPS): 6 to 12 business days within the lower 48 United States. All P.O. Boxes, APO/FPO/DPO addresses and shipments to Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands will ship via Economy Delivery.

I always get peeved when I see people use the phrase “lower 48 states”. Why? ¬†Well, having grown up in the State of Hawaii, I can tell you with certainty that the Hawaiian islands are farther south than any other state in the United States of America, even the southernmost point of Florida. Taken literally, “lower 48 states” actually means all states except Alaska and Minnesota (due to Lake of the Woods).

Somehow I don’t think these merchants were referring to Minnesota.


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2 thoughts on “The lower 48”

  1. In Alaska we say Lower 48 to refer to the contiguous 48 states. Real Alaskans don’t even say that though – we just say ‘outside’, as in “I’m going outside in November”. Hawaii we just call Hawaii.

    Many parts of Alaska are islands, so when you guys say ‘the mainland’ it really pisses us off.

  2. From a purely semantic point of view, “mainland” doesn’t imply all 49 continental states, though I can understand why Alaskans would bristle at being left out. Many people in Hawaii get irked when tourists say “back in the States…”. I imagine Alaskans feel the same way.

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