Alternative words for American

From Academic Kids

There have been a number of attempts to coin an alternative to "American" as an adjective (a demonym) for United States nationals. Some people would prefer to use "American" to indicate any inhabitant of the Americas rather than a citizen of the United States. In other cases, the motivation is to avoid ambiguity. For instance, in legal circles a citizen of the United States is usually referred to as a 'U.S. citizen', not an 'American citizen', which would technically include the citizens of all of the countries of the Americas.

Most countries have a demonym that derives obviously from the name of the nation itself, as "Mexican" from "Mexico", "Greek" from "Greece" or "Japanese" from "Japan", but there is no such term derived from "United States of America" other than "American" itself. Attempts to create a more specific name have failed to gain widespread use. Alternatives which have been proposed include,

Appalacian, Colonican, Columbard, Columbian, Frede, Fredonian, Nacirema, Pindosian (or just Pindos), Stateside(r), Uesican, Uessian, Unisan, Unisian, United States (as an attributive noun), United States American, United Stater, United Stateser, United Statesian, United Statesman, United Statian, USAian, U.S. American, Usan, USAn, Usanian, Usian (pronounced "YOU-zhuhn"), U-S-ian, Usonian (pronounced "you-SOH-nee-un"), and Washingtonian.

References to these words have been around since the early days of the republic, but they are virtually unused and American remains by far the most common term. Usonian is used in architectural circles, and Washingtonian remains as the adjective for the state of Washington and the city of Washington, D.C..

In other languages, such as Spanish, American is more ambiguous. In the Iberoamerican countries, the use of "American" to refer only to U.S. citizens could be considered factually incorrect and culturally aggressive.

Several of these terms have direct parallels in languages other than English. Many languages have already created their own distinct word for a citizen of the United States:

  • United Statesian directly parallels the Spanish term estadounidense.
  • Estadounidense is also but little used in the Portuguese language. Its usage traditionally rises during times of tension with the USA.
  • Norteamericano (North American) is common in Latin America and Portugal, but suffers from the same kind of ambiguity as American, since Canadians and Mexicans among others are also North Americans.
  • Usonian, from Usonia, a term Frank Lloyd Wright used to describe his vision for American architecture, homes, and cities, and used by John Dos Passos in his U.S.A. trilogy.
  • The Esperanto term for the United States of America is Usono. This is generally thought to come from "Usonia". In Esperanto, one forms the word for a citizen of a given country using the suffix "-an" which means "member of". Therefore a citizen of the United States is usonano. (Such derived words are not capitalized.) Esperanto terms for the American geographic regions and people living of them are Ameriko/amerikano, Norda Ameriko/nordamerikano, Meza Ameriko/mezamerikano, and Suda Ameriko/sudamerikano.
  • Usanian is derived from the Ido word Usana.
  • In French, the term Étatsunien has also been coined, but enjoys little more currency than United Statesian in English.
  • In Italian the term Statunitense (from Stati Uniti = United States) is quite widespread, especially referring to sporting events.
  • Pindos (or Pindosian) was born during UN operation in Kosovo. The initiators of this were Russian troops at Kosovo airport in Pristina. In some Southern Russian dialects pindos is a derogatory term for Greeks. Some reports indicate that its use has spread beyond Russian troops and that its meaning has likewise spread, to refer not only to soldiers.

In other parts of the world, there are also pejorative synonyms of the standard word for American. In Latin America, there is gringo (although that can also apply to the English, and sometimes any foreigner, especially if white), and, in several languages, local adaptations of Yankee. Notably in England, where the term 'Yank' actually appeared before the term 'Yankee' did in the United States itself. Merkin, an obvious contraction but also a word for either a wig worn on the pubic region or a sex toy, has seen considerable use, particularly in England and various Internet communities. In Germany, Ami; in Hungary, Amcsi is widely used, sometimes pejoratively. In France, Ricain and Amerloque are often used.

Cockney rhyming slang for Yank has produced the name septic tank or septic; this is used in Australia, and is often modified to seppo. This is to refer to the derogatory belief, by some, that Americans are 'full of shit'.

See also

External link

  • Electric Editors, "EDline (". Editorial mailing list. Vol. 4, no. 9; March 7, 1999.



Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (
    • Architecture (
    • Cultures (
    • Music (
    • Musical Instruments (
  • Biographies (
  • Clipart (
  • Geography (
    • Countries of the World (
    • Maps (
    • Flags (
    • Continents (
  • History (
    • Ancient Civilizations (
    • Industrial Revolution (
    • Middle Ages (
    • Prehistory (
    • Renaissance (
    • Timelines (
    • United States (
    • Wars (
    • World History (
  • Human Body (
  • Mathematics (
  • Reference (
  • Science (
    • Animals (
    • Aviation (
    • Dinosaurs (
    • Earth (
    • Inventions (
    • Physical Science (
    • Plants (
    • Scientists (
  • Social Studies (
    • Anthropology (
    • Economics (
    • Government (
    • Religion (
    • Holidays (
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (
    • Planets (
  • Sports (
  • Timelines (
  • Weather (
  • US States (


  • Home Page (
  • Contact Us (

  • Clip Art (
Personal tools