The meaning of the word AMERICAN in the English language varies
according to the historical, geographical, and political context in
which it is used. American is derived from America, a term originally
denoting all of the
New World (also called the
Americas ). In some
expressions, it retains this Pan-American sense, but its usage has
evolved over time and, for various historical reasons, the word came
to denote people or things specifically from the
In modern English,
Americans generally refers to persons or things
related to the
The word can be used as either an adjective or a noun (viz. a demonym
). In adjectival use, it means "of or relating to the United States";
for example, "
Compound constructions such as "African
Americans " likewise refer
exclusively to people in or from the
* 1 Other languages
* 2 History
* 3 Usage at the
* 4 Cultural views
* 5 In other contexts
* 5.1 International law * 5.2 U.S. commercial regulation
* 6 Alternatives * 7 See also * 8 Notes * 9 References * 10 Works cited * 11 External links
French , German , Italian , Japanese , Hebrew , Arabic , and Russian speakers may use cognates of American to refer to inhabitants of the Americas or to U.S. nationals. They generally have other terms specific to U.S. nationals, such as the German US-Amerikaner, French étatsunien, Japanese beikokujin (米国人), Arabic amrīkānī (أمريكاني as opposed to amrīkī أمريكي), and Italian statunitense. These specific terms may be less common than the term American.
In French, états-unien, étas-unien or étasunien, from États-Unis
Likewise, German's use of U.S.-amerikanisch and U.S.-Amerikaner observe said cultural distinction, solely denoting U.S. things and people. Note that these are "politically correct" terms and that in normal parlance, the adjective "American" and its direct cognates are usually used if the context renders the nationality of the person clear.
This differentiation is prevalent in German-speaking countries, as
indicated by the style manual of the
Neue Zürcher Zeitung
Portuguese has americano, denoting both a person or thing from the
Americas and a U.S. national. For referring specifically to a U.S.
national and things, some words used are estadunidense (also spelled
In Spanish, americano denotes geographic and cultural origin in the
New World, as well as (infrequently) a U.S. citizen; the more
common term is estadounidense ("
In other languages, however, there is no possibility for confusion. For example, the Chinese word for "U.S. national" is měiguórén (simplified Chinese : 美国人; traditional Chinese : 美國人) is derived from a word for the United States, měiguó, where měi is an abbreviation for Yàměilìjiā ("America") and guó is "country". The name for the American continents is měizhōu, from měi plus zhōu ("continent"). Thus, a měiZHōUrén is an American in the continent sense, and a měiGUórén is an American in the U.S. sense.
Conversely, in Czech , there is no possibility for disambiguation.
Američan (m.) and američanka (f.) can refer to persons from the
Korean and Vietnamese also use unambiguous terms, with Korean having Migug (미국(인)) for the country versus Amerika (아메리카) for the continents, and Vietnamese having Hoa Kỳ for the country versus Châu Mỹ for the continents. Japanese has such terms as well (beikoku(jin) ), but they are found more in newspaper headlines than in speech, where amerikajin predominates.
In Swahili , Marekani means specifically the United States, and
Mwamarekani is a U.S. national, whereas the international form Amerika
refers to the continents, and Mwaamerika would be an inhabitants
thereof. Likewise, the
In Hungarian the term amerikai (American) refers to a person or a
thing from the
America is named after Italian explorer
The name America was coined by
Martin Waldseemüller from Americus
Vespucius, the Latinized version of the name of Amerigo Vespucci
(1454–1512), the Italian explorer who mapped South America's east
coast and the
16th-century European usage of American denoted the native
inhabitants of the New World. The earliest recorded use of this term
in English is in
Thomas Hacket 's 1568 translation of André Thévet
In English, American was used especially for people in the British
Samuel Johnson , the leading English lexicographer, wrote in
1775, before the
In Witness whereof we have hereunto set our hands in Congress. Done at Philadelphia in the State of Pennsylvania the ninth day of July in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy-Eight, and in the Third Year of the independence of America. British map of the Americas in 1744.
Sam Haselby, a history professor in Lebanon and Egypt, claims it was
British officials who first called the colonists "Americans". When the
drafters of the Declaration—
The Federalist Papers
Early official U.S. documents show inconsistent usage; the 1778
Treaty of Alliance with
U.S. President George Washington , in his 1796 Farewell Address , declaimed that "The name of American, which belongs to you in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of patriotism more than any appellation." Political scientist Virginia L. Arbery notes that, in his Farewell Address:
"...Washington invites his fellow citizens to view themselves now as Americans who, out of their love for the truth of liberty, have replaced their maiden names (Virginians, South Carolinians, New Yorkers, etc.) with that of “American”. Get rid of, he urges, “any appellation derived from local discriminations.” By defining himself as an American rather than as a Virginian, Washington set the national standard for all citizens. "Over and over, Washington said that America must be something set apart. As he put it to Patrick Henry , 'In a word, I want an American character, that the powers of Europe may be convinced we act for ourselves and not for others.'"
As the historian Garry Wills has noted: "This was a theme dear to Washington. He wrote to Timothy Pickering that the nation 'must never forget that we are Americans; the remembrance of which will convince us we ought not to be French or English'." Washington's countrymen subsequently embraced his exhortation with notable enthusiasm.
This semantic divergence among North American anglophones , however,
remained largely unknown in the Spanish-American colonies. In 1801,
the document titled Letter to American Spaniards—published in French
(1799), in Spanish (1801), and in English (1808)—might have
The Latter-day Saints ' Articles of Faith refer to the American continents as where they are to build Zion.
Common short forms and abbreviations are the United States, the U.S., the U.S.A., and America; colloquial versions include the U.S. of A. and the States. The term Columbia (from the Columbus surname) was a popular name for the U.S. and for the entire geographic Americas; its usage is present today in the District of Columbia 's name. Moreover, the womanly personification of Columbia appears in some official documents, including editions of the U.S. dollar.
USAGE AT THE UNITED NATIONS
Use of the term American for U.S. nationals is common at the United
Nations , and financial markets in the
American Samoa is a recognized territorial name at the United Nations.
SPAIN AND HISPANIC AMERICA
The use of American as a national demonym for U.S. nationals is
challenged, primarily by Hispanic Americans. Spanish speakers in
Latin America use the term estadounidense to refer to people
and things from the
It is common, and thus acceptable, to use norteamericano as a synonym of estadounidense, even though strictly speaking, the term norteamericano can equally be used to refer to the inhabitants of any country in North America, it normally applies to the inhabitants of the United States. But americano should not be used to refer exclusively to the inhabitants of the United States, an abusive usage which can be explained by the fact that in the United States, they frequently abbreviate the name of the country to "America" (in English, with no accent).
Modern Canadians typically refer to people from the
PORTUGAL AND BRAZIL
Generally, americano denotes "U.S. citizen" in
The Getting Through Customs website advises business travelers not to use "in America" as a U.S. reference when conducting business in Brazil.
IN OTHER CONTEXTS
"American" in the 1994 Associated Press Stylebook was defined as, "An
acceptable description for a resident of the United States. It also
may be applied to any resident or citizen of nations in North or South
America." Elsewhere, the
The entry for "America" in The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage from 1999 reads:
terms "America", "American(s)" and "Americas" refer not only to the United States, but to all of North America and South America. They may be used in any of their senses, including references to just the United States, if the context is clear. The countries of the Western Hemisphere are collectively 'the Americas'.
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At least one international law uses U.S. citizen in defining a
citizen of the
Only air carriers that are "citizens of the United States" may operate aircraft in domestic air service (cabotage) and may provide international scheduled and non-scheduled air service as U.S. air carriers...
Under the Federal Aviation Act of 1958, a "citizen of the United States" means: (a) an individual who is a U.S. citizen; (b) a partnership in which each member is a U.S. citizen; or (c) a U.S. corporation of which the president and at least two-thirds of the board of directors and other managing officers are U.S. citizens, and at least 75 percent of the voting interest in the corporation is owned or controlled by U.S. citizens.
Many international treaties use the terms American and American citizen:
* 1796 – The treaty between the
U.S. COMMERCIAL REGULATION
Products that are labeled, advertised, and marketed in the U.S. as "Made in the USA " must be, as set by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), "all or virtually all made in the U.S." The FTC, to prevent deception of customers and unfair competition, considers an unqualified claim of "American Made" to expressly claim exclusive manufacture in the U.S: "The FTC Act gives the Commission the power to bring law enforcement actions against false or misleading claims that a product is of U.S. origin."
Main article: Names for
There are a number of alternatives to the demonym American as a
citizen of the
The list contains (in approximate historical order from 1789 to 1939) such terms as Columbian, Columbard, Fredonian, Frede, Unisian, United Statesian, Colonican, Appalacian, Usian, Washingtonian, Usonian, Uessian, U-S-ian, Uesican, United Stater.
Nevertheless, no alternative to American is common.
* North America portal
* South America portal
* Language portal
* Hyphenated Americans
* ^ A B Japanese: "U.S. citizen" is amerika-jin (アメリカ人)
* ^ Russian: "U.S. citizen" is amerikanec (американец)
for males and amerikanka (американка) for females
* ^ The first two definitions in Diccionario de la lengua española
(the official dictionary in Spanish) define americano as "Native of
America" and "Pertaining or relating to this part of the world" ,
where América refers to the continent. The fourth definition of
americano is defined as "
* ^ A B C Wilson, Kenneth G. (1993). The Columbia Guide to Standard
American English. New York: Columbia University Press. pp. 27–28.
ISBN 0-231-06989-8 . View at Bartleby
* ^ A B Mencken, H. L. (December 1947). "Names for Americans".
American Speech. 22 (4): 241–256. doi :10.2307/486658 .
* ^ Avis, Walter S.; Drysdale, Patrick D.; Gregg, Robert J.;
Eeufeldt, Victoria E.; Scargill, Matthew H. (1983). "American". Gage
Canadian Dictionary (pbk ed.). Toronto: Gage Publishing Limited. p.
37. ISBN 0-7715-9122-5 .
* ^ "American". WordReference English-Japanese Dictionary. 2013.
* ^ "American". WordReference English-Russian Dictionary. 2013.
* ^ A B "US-Amerikaner". Wortschatz (in German).
* ^ A B C "Etats-Uniens ou Américains, that is the question". Le
Monde (in French). July 6, 2007.
* ^ "American". Online English-Japanese Pictorial Dictionary. Free
* ^ "Arabic-English translation for "أَمْريكيّ"". Bab.la
Dictionary. Retrieved 28 November 2016.
* ^ "statunitense". WordReference English-Italiano Dictionary.
* ^ Vademecum. Der sprachlich-technische Leitfaden der «Neuen
Zürcher Zeitung», 13th edition. Verlag Neue Zürcher Zeitung,
Zürich 2013, p. 102, s. v. US-amerikanisch.
* ^ Eidgenössisches Departement für auswärtige Angelegenheiten:
„Liste der Staatenbezeichnungen“; Bundesministerium für
europäische und internationale Angelegenheiten: „Liste der
Staatennamen und deren Ableitungen in den vom Bundesministerium für
europäische und internationale Angelegenheiten verwendeten Formen“;
Auswärtiges Amt: „Verzeichnis der Staatennamen für den amtlichen
Gebrauch in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland“
* ^ A B "americano". Dicionário Priberam da Língua Portuguesa (in
* ^ A B C "americano".
Diccionario de la lengua española (in
Spanish). Real Academia Española.
* ^ Pequeño Larousse Ilustrado 1992 edition, look up word
Americano: Contains the Observation: Debe evitarse el empleo de
americano con el sentido de norteamericano o de los Estados Unidos
* ^ "América". WordReference English-Spanish Dictionary.
* ^ A B "norteamericano". Diccionario panhispánico de dudas (in
* ^ "美国人". WordReference English-Chinese Dictionary. 2013.
* ^ A B "United States". WordReference English-Chinese Dictionary.
* ^ A B "America". WordReference English-Chinese Dictionary. 2013.
* ^ A B "country". WordReference English-Chinese Dictionary. 2013.
* ^ A B "continent". WordReference English-Chinese Dictionary.
* ^ "america". WordReference English-Korean Dictionary. 2013.
* ^ "United States". bab.la. Wasilana & Amana.
* ^ "amerika". bab.la. Wasilana & Amana.
* ^ "American". bab.la. Wasilana & Amana.
* ^ Youngman, Jeremy. "Introduction to Swahili". Masai Mara.
* ^ "Ameriko". Esperanto–English Dictionary.
* ^ "Usono". Esperanto–English Dictionary.
* ^ "usonano". Esperanto–English Dictionary.
* ^ (in Esperanto) "Reta Vortaro" .
* ^ "Cartographer Put \'America\' on the Map 500 years Ago". USA
* ^ Wood, Gordon S. (2015), "A Different Story of What Shaped
New York Review of Books , July 9 issue.
* ^ Letter TJ to Theodore Foster, May 1801, in Paul Leicester Ford
ed., The Works of
* Allen, Irving L. (1983). The Language of Ethnic Conflict: Social Organization and Lexical Culture. New York: Columbia University Press.
* Condon, J.C. (1986). "...So near the United States". In Valdes, J.M. Culture bound: Bridging the cultural gap in language teaching. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. pp. 85–93. ISBN 978-0-521-31045-1 . * Herbst, Philip H. (1997). Color of Words: An Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Ethnic Bias in the United States. ISBN 1-877864-42-0 .
Look up AMERICAN in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.