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Can You Guess the Middle Name of Every U.S. President?

JFK, Harry S. Truman, George W. Bush... sure you know their monograms, but do you know the full names of every president?

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VARIOUS George Washington. Print showing George Washington, standing in front of a chair with right arm extended toward a table on the left and holding a sword in left hand.
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George Washington

Middle Name: None

That’s right, the most famous U.S. president in history had no middle name. In fact, it was actually quite rare for children to be given middle names when Washington was born in 1732. Learn more about the history of middle names.

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History Gilbert Stuart (1755-1828), John Adams 1821 US President
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John Adams

Middle Name: None

Born in Braintree, Massachusetts in 1935 to John Adams Sr. and Susanna Boylston Adams, John Adams, our second U.S. president—like our first—had no middle name. John Adams was our nation’s first vice president, and the first president to live in the White House. Check out these 22 surprising presidential firsts you never knew about.

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ARIOUS Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), Third President of the United States, American Founding Father and Author of the Declaration of Independence, Portrait
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Thomas Jefferson

Middle Name: None

Like his predecessors, Thomas Jefferson did not have a middle name, but two of his nine siblings did: Peter Field and Anna Scott. It’s believed that Anna’s middle name was in honor of Jefferson’s mother’s sister, Anna Randolph, whose married name was Scott.

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VARIOUS Portrait of James Madison, 1806
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James Madison

Middle Name: None

Having been born in 1751, James Madison, not surprisingly, had no middle name. But did you know that Mr. Madison, our fourth president, is the one who made up the word “squatter”?

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Historical Collection 2 James Monroe (1758-1831) 5th President of the United States (1817-1825) circa 1820

James Monroe

Middle Name: None

Born in 1758, James Monroe was elected the fifth president of the United States in 1817. By then, middle names were becoming a “thing,” and all of Monroe’s three children had them (Eliza Kortright Monroe, James Spence Monroe, and Maria Hester Monroe).

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Art (Portraits) - various
The Art Archive/Shutterstock

John Adams

Middle Name: Quincy

The sixth president of the United States, John Adams, was the eldest son of the second president, John Adams. He was given his middle name in honor of his maternal great-grandfather, John Quincy. To further distinguish himself from his father, John Quincy Adams referred to himself as “JQA.” Don’t miss these 52 astonishing facts you never knew about the U.S. presidents.

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Historical Collection 140 Andrew Jackson American Statesman and President with His Autograph 1767-1845

Andrew Jackson

Middle Name: None

Named for his father, Andrew Jackson Sr., who died in an accident just three weeks before his birth in 1767, Andrew Jackson did not have a middle name. The major general did have the nickname, “Old Hickory,” given to him by his troops during the War of 1812 because he was said to be “as tough as old hickory wood” on the battlefield. Find out how every U.S. state got its nickname.

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History Martin Van Buren (1782-1862) Eighth President of the United States of America (1837-1841), the first President to be born an American citizen.
Universal History Archive/UIG/Shutterstock

Martin Van Buren

Middle Name: None

Born in 1782, Van Buren’s, baptismal name was “Maarten van Buren,” which is the Dutch spelling of the name. Van Buren was the first president to have been born in New York State. Check out the funniest joke ever told by Martin Van Buren, as well as 22 other humorous presidents.

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Historical Collection 2 William Henry Harrison (1773-1841) 9th President of the United States (1841-1841) He Died On His 32nd Day in Office 1841

William Harrison

Middle Name: Henry

Our ninth president was named for his maternal grandfather, William (last name: Bassett) and for his paternal uncle, Henry (last name: Harrison). Born in 1773, William Henry Harrison was only the second president to have had a middle name. He was the first, however, to die in office, which he did in 1841, barely a month after his inauguration, at which it’s believed he caught pneumonia after giving a really long speech in the pouring rain.

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John Tyler, USA

John Tyler

Middle Name: None

Born in 1790, John Tyler, who will be remembered as the first vice president to become president due to the death of his predecessor (Harrison), had no middle name. Tyler was sworn in as the 10th president of the United States in 1841. As of 2020 Tyler, who died in 1862, still had living grandchildren. Check out these other time-warping facts.

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VARIOUS President James K Polk 1860
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James Polk

Middle Name: Knox

Born in a small North Carolina town in 1795, James Polk‘s middle name was in honor of his maternal grandfather, James Knox. During his one-term presidency (1845 to1849), our nation’s territory grew by more than one-third and extended all the way across the continent for the very first time. Don’t miss Polk’s hidden talent, along with those of these 23 other presidents.

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VARIOUS President Zachary Taylor. Taylor was the 12th President of the United States. Before his presidency, Taylor was a career officer in the United States Army, rising to the rank of major general.
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Zachary Taylor

Middle Name: None

Born in 1784, our 12th president, Zachary Taylor, had no middle name, but he did have the nickname, “Old Rough and Ready,” given to him during his time as a military commander for always being willing to “get his boots dirty” alongside his troops. And he did give middle names to five of his six children. Taylor died in office in 1850, suddenly, and possibly of cholera.

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Historical Collection 32

Millard Fillmore

Middle Name: None

Millard Fillmore, our 13th president, was the second president to assume the presidency following the death of his predecessor (Taylor) but the first president whose first name was his mother’s maiden name (her name was Phoebe Millard). Born into poverty in a log cabin in New York in 1800, one of nine siblings, Fillmore had no middle name. But he did give middle names to his two children, Millard Powers Fillmore and Mary Abigail Fillmore.

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History Franklin Pierce (1804-1869) American lawyer and politician, 14th President of the United States 1853-1857 . Three-quarter length portrait of Pierce seated and looking towards the right, 1855-1865.
Universal History Archive/UIG/Shutterstock

Franklin Pierce

Middle Name: K

Our 14th president, Franklin Pierce, is rumored to have had the middle initial, “K,” which is thought to have stood for “Kendrick,” which was his mother, Anna’s, maiden name. But there are no official documents that prove this to be true. What we do know about Franklin Pierce is that at 48, he was the youngest president ever elected at the time, and just weeks before his inauguration, his 11-year-old son, Benjamin, was killed in a train accident.

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Historical Collection 32

James Buchanan

Middle Name: None

James Buchanan, 15th President of the United States, was born in Pennsylvania in 1791, and is the only U.S. president from the state. A lifelong bachelor, Buchanan had no children either. Can you guess which state has produced the most presidents?

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President Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln

Middle Name: None

Abraham Lincoln, born in Kentucky in 1809, was named after his paternal grandfather, Abraham Lincoln, who was killed by a Native American in 1786. In addition to having no middle name, also hated being called “Abe,” preferring to be called by his last name, which may not actually have even been “Lincoln” (at least not historically), but rather, “Linkhorne.”

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VARIOUS President Andrew Johnson. Johnson was the 17th President of the United States, serving from 1865 to 1869. He became president as Abraham Lincoln's Vice President at the time of Lincoln's assassination.
Universal History Archive/UIG/Shutterstock

Andrew Johnson

Middle Name: None

Born in 1808 in North Carolina, Andrew Johnson became the 17th president of the United States upon the assassination of President Lincoln in April 1865. He also became the first president to be impeached, although he was acquitted. Don’t miss these 15 facts about America they didn’t teach you in school.

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Mathew B Brady/AP/Shutterstock

Ulysses Grant

Middle Name: Ulysses

Born Hiram Ulysses Grant (Hiram was his maternal grandfather, and Ulysses was a mythological hero), Grant’s name was transcribed erroneously on paperwork relating to his admission to West Point at the age of 17. So then why is he always referred to as Ulysses “S” Grant? Turns out that was a nickname he got after joining the military: “U.S.” Grant. It was probably a bit more fitting for the General than his actual initials: “H.U.G.”

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Art (Portraits) - various
The Art Archive/Shutterstock

Rutherford Hayes

Middle Name: Birchard

Our 19th president was Rutherford Birchard Hayes, whose middle name was his mother’s maiden name. Born in 1822, the president known most commonly as “Rutherford B. Hayes” was the fifth and last child of his parents, Rutherford and Sophia, and the second president to be born after the death of his father (about two months after).

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VARIOUS James Abram Garfield
Universal History Archive/Shutterstock

James Garfield

Middle Name: None

James Garfield’s middle name was given after his father, a wrestler, who died when Garfield was a baby. James was the name of his older brother who had died as an infant. Garfield, himself, was assassinated after only 100 days in office.

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History Chester Alan Arthur (1829-1886) 21st President of the United States of America 1881-1885. Vice-President under President Garfield on whose assassination he succeeded to office. Arthur in 1882.
Universal History Archive/UIG/Shutterstock

Chester Artur

Middle Name: Alan

Chester Arthur, born in Vermont in 1829, may have been the first president whose birth in the United States was called into dispute by his opponents, who believed he’d been born in Canada. Some say he was named “Chester” after Dr. Chester Abell, the physician who delivered him and given the middle name “Alan” after his paternal grandfather, but the mystery that surrounded his place of birth has cast doubt on those facts as well.

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Various President Of The United States Grover Cleveland - Served Two Non-consecutive Terms 1900s
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Grover Cleveland

Middle Name: Grover

Grover Cleveland has something in common with Ulysses Grant beside the presidency. Born Stephen Grover Cleveland in New Jersey in 1837, he went by Grover from early in his childhood. One thing that makes Cleveland completely unique from any other president is that he served two nonconsecutive terms, as 22nd and 24th president. Check your knowledge of presidential trivia against these 12 little-known White House facts.

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Various Benjamin Harrison, 23rd President Of The United States
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Benjamin Harrison

Middle Name: None

Benjamin Harrison, our 23rd president, was the first (and so far only) president of the United States to have been the grandson of another president (William Henry Harrison). Born in 1833 in Ohio, he was the 8th “Benjamin Harrison,” one of whom was the Benjamin Harrison who signed the Declaration of Independence (Benjamin Harrison V), and one of whom was the son of William Henry Harrison, who died two weeks before William Henry’s inauguration.

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VARIOUS Washington, D.C.: 1900 A portrait of William Mckinley, Jr. the twenty-fifth President of the United States, (1897-1901).
Underwood Archives/UIG/Shutterstock

William McKinley

Middle Name: None

William McKinley is best known for being president when the United States acquired Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines. Born in Ohio in 1843, he was a schoolteacher and a serviceman before becoming a lawyer and finally the president. McKinley was elected to two terms but was assassinated less than six months later in Buffalo, New York. These are the 12 strangest gifts ever given to U.S. presidents.

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VARIOUS Cove Neck, New York: c. 1907 President Theodore Roosevelt seated in a chair outside his Sagamore Hill home on Long Island.
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Theodore Roosevelt

Middle Name: None

Born in New York City in 1858, Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt assumed the presidency at age 42 after McKinley’s assassination, thus becoming the youngest man ever to be president. Teddy was named for his father, Theodore “Thee” Roosevelt Sr. His mother, Martha “Mittie” Bulloch, a Southern belle, is rumored to have been a prototype for the Gone with the Wind character Scarlett O’Hara.

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VARIOUS U.S President William Howard Taft, Portrait, circa 1910
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William Taft

Middle Name: Howard

William Taft, born in 1857, is the only man in history to have been both president (1909 to 1913) and Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1921 to 1930). Taft‘s middle name, Howard, was the maiden name of his paternal grandmother, Sylvia.

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President Woodrow Wilson, WASHINGTON, USA

Woodrow Wilson

Middle Name: Woodrow

Born Thomas Woodrow Wilson, America’s 28th president decided, as an adult, to go by his middle name (Woodrow) instead of his first name, making him the third president to go by his middle, rather than his first. Can you recognize these baby photos of American presidents?

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VARIOUS President Warren Harding 1920. 29th President of the United States of AmericaLibrary of Congress
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Warren Harding

Middle Name: Gamaliel

Born in 1865 in Ohio, Warren Harding was the first to coin the term, “normalcy,” which meant, at the time, a return to the way life had been before World War I. Harding died of a heart attack in 1923, during his third year in office. His middle name is believed to be a biblical reference. Find out 10 myths about the U.S. Constitution that a lot of people actually believe.

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VARIOUS New U.S. President Calvin Coolidge after death of U.S. President Warren G. Harding, Washington DC, USA, National Photo Company, August 4, 1923
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Calvin Coolidge

Middle Name: Calvin

Our nation’s 30th president, Calvin Coolidge, was another president who used his middle name, instead of his first. Born John Calvin Coolidge, he was named for his father but had been referred to as Calvin from early childhood. Don’t miss these 21 rarely seen photos you’re unlikely to find in history books.

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Historical Collection 25

Herbert Hoover

Middle Name: Clark

Born in 1874 in Iowa, Herbert Hoover was the son of a blacksmith and farm equipment salesman by the name of Jessie Clark Hoover, and shared his father’s middle name. He also shared his presidency with the Great Depression, although the Republican Party had promised a “chicken in every pot” and a “car in every garage” if Hoover were elected. Go ahead, steal one of these 17 sick presidential burns. We don’t mind.

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Historical Collection 18 Franklin Delano Roosevelt 32nd President of the Usa in the Year of His Election 1882 - 1945

Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Middle Name: Delano

After being nameless for his first seven weeks in 1882, the baby who would one day become this country’s 32nd president was finally given the name Franklin Delano Roosevelt, after his great-uncle, Franklin Hughes Delano. Delano was also FDR’s mother’s maiden name. The two presidential Roosevelts were cousins, but Teddy wasn’t the only president to whom FDR was related. There were 10 others, not to mention his first lady, Eleanor, to whom he was also distantly related.

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VARIOUS Washington, D.C.: May 24, 1946. Truman concluding a press conference about the ongoing railroad strike, declaring that if the workers were not back on the job the next day, he would call upon the armed forces to help run the railroad and protect the strike breakers.
Underwood Archives/UIG/Shutterstock

Harry Truman

Middle Name: S.

Harry Truman‘s middle initial doesn’t actually stand for any name at all. Apparently, when Harry was born in 1884, his parents couldn’t decide on a middle name, so they simply went with the letter S, with the goal of honoring both Harry’s paternal grandfather, Anderson Shippe Truman, and his maternal grandfather, Solomon Young. “Harry” is for his maternal uncle, Harrison Young.

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Dwight Eisenhower

Middle Name: David

Dwight Eisenhower, our 34th president, had his middle name after his father, David Jacob Eisenhower. Born in 1890, Dwight D. Eisenhower was a five-star general who led American forces to victory in Europe during World War II and is responsible for obtaining a truce with Korea in 1953, the first year of his presidency.

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History John F Kennedy (1917-1963), 35th President of the United States of America (1961-1963,).
Universal History Archive/UIG/Shutterstock

John Kennedy

Middle Name: Fitzgerald

John Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, was born in 1917 in Massachusetts. Elected in 1960 at the age of 43, Kennedy became the youngest man and the first Roman Catholic to be elected to the office of U.S. president. His middle name was his mother’s maiden name. Find out the 12 still unanswered questions about JFK’s death.

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Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson Posing, Washington, USA

Lyndon Johnson

Middle Name: Baines

Lyndon Johnson was named after W.C. Linden, a lawyer and family friend. His middle name was his mother’s maiden name. Upon JFK’s death, Johnson, or “LBJ,” as he was known, was sworn in by Federal District Judge, Sarah T. Hughes, the first woman to serve as a federal district judge in Texas. Here are 57 other historical “firsts” achieved by women.

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Richard Nixon, USA

Richard Nixon

Middle Name: Milhous

Richard Nixon’s middle name was Milhous, which was his mother’s maiden name. You might have known that, but did you know that Nixon wasn’t actually impeached? He resigned before the impeachment process could be completed—the only president ever to resign to date.

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Ford, Gerald

Gerald Ford

Middle Name: Lynch/Rudolph

Gerald Ford had two middle names, albeit not at the same time. You see, Ford’s birth name was Leslie Lynch King (the same as his birth father). However, at age two, his mother changed his name to Gerald Rudolph Ford, the name of his adoptive father (who spelled it “Rudolff”). Gerald R. Ford is the only president who took office as a result of his predecessor’s resignation.

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History James Early 'Jimmy' Carter (b1924) 39th President of the United States of Amerce 1977-1981.
Universal History Archive/UIG/Shutterstock

James Carter

Middle Name: Earl

The full name of our 39th president, Jimmy Carter, is James Earl Carter, Jr. His father was James Earl Carter, Sr. Don’t miss these dramatic before-and-after photos showing how Carter and other presidents aged while they were in office.

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President Ronald Reagan, Washington, USA
Ira Schwarz/AP/Shutterstock

Ronald Reagan

Middle Name: Wilson

Ronald Reagan was an actor and actors trade union leader prior to becoming the 40th president of the United States. But unlike many actors, Reagan never changed his name. Born Ronald Wilson Reagan in 1911, his middle name was his mother’s maiden name.

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George H W Bush, Washington, USA
Charles Dharapak/AP/Shutterstock

George Bush Sr.

Middle Name: Herbert Walker

The first President Bush had two middle names, Herbert and Walker. Born in 1924, our 41st president was given those names because they belonged to his maternal grandfather, George Herbert Walker, mother of Dorothy Wear Walker Bush, who as “First Mother” during George H.W.’s presidency, was the closest thing to a “Queen Mum” the United States has ever had.

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Usa Former President Clinton - Mar 2005
Armando Arorizo/EPA/Shutterstock

Bill Clinton

Middle Name: Jefferson

The 42nd president of the United States, Bill Clinton was born William Jefferson Blythe. He never knew his father, who died in a car accident before Bill was born. A few years later, Bill’s mom married Roger Clinton, Sr., and when Bill was a teenager, he adopted his stepfather’s last name.

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George Bush Jr.

Middle Name: Walker

The second President Bush, who is the son of the first, has the middle name “Walker.” To distinguish him from his father George H.W. Bush, who had only recently been president, the public came to refer to the second President Bush by his middle initial, “W” or “Dubya.”

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'Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture' opening, Washington DC, USA - 24 Sep 2016

Barack Obama

Middle Name: Hussein

Barack Obama is named after his father, Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., a Kenyan senior governmental economist. While Obama is, no doubt, proud of his name, it’s certainly caused quite a bit of confusion over the years, causing some to believe he wasn’t American.

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Donald Trump rally, Miami, USA - 18 Feb 2019
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Donald Trump

Middle Name: John

The first time the press mentioned Donald Trump’s name (the New York Times on January 28, 1973), there was no middle initial. He was simply “Donald Trump,” the brash son of Fred C. Trump. Ten months later, his middle initial premiered in another story, according to the paper. “Both versions were in play for a couple of months, before The Times settled on: “Donald J. Trump.” Oh, and the “J” stands for John. Next, find out the presidential trivia facts that everyone gets wrong.

Lauren Cahn
Lauren has covered knowledge, history, the British royal family, true crime and riddles for Reader's Digest since 2017. She sharpened her research skills as an attorney in the 1990s, became an early HuffPost blogger in the 2000s, then began reporting local news in the 2010s. She's been writing news, features and celebrity interviews for a variety of publications since and values being a source of trusted information on the topics her readers care about. In addition to Reader's Digest, her byline appears in The Healthy, Taste of Home, Family Handyman, Mashed, Tasting Table, Eat This, Not That!, Grown and Flown, MSN, Yahoo, AOL, Insider and Business Insider.