The Alternative English Dictionary: American

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Entry definition

American {{wikipedia}} {{wikipedia}} etymology From America + an, or via Modified Latin Americanus (Latin americanus) with the same etymology. pronunciation
  • (UK) /əˈmɛɹɪkən/
  • (US) /əˈmɛɹəkən/
  • {{audio}}
noun: {{en-noun}}
  1. An indigenous inhabitant of the Americas; an American Indian. (Now chiefly with qualifying word.) {{defdate}}
    • 1711, Joseph Addison, The Spectator, 56.1: The Americans believe that all creatures have souls.
    • 2012, Jonathan Keates, ‘Mon Père, ce héros’, Literary Review, 402: Within a few months the ‘slave Alexandre’ had been successfully transformed into what, across the Channel, was called a ‘blackamoor dandy’. Parisians preferred the more politely euphemistic term ‘American’.
  2. An inhabitant of the America. More often this is specified as either North American, Central American or South American. Every American's origin is, historically speaking, by immigration, if scientific speculation that points to a human origin in Asia and a migration to the New World over frozen Bering Strait turns out to be correct.
  3. Originally, a native or inhabitant of the British North American colonies of European descent; now, a person born in, or a citizen or inhabitant of, the United States of America. {{defdate}}
    • 2008, Chris Moss, The Guardian, 9 Aug 2008: They say Americans don't walk. Well, they do in the Navajo Nation - because even if northern Arizona has gigabytes of photogenic vistas, getting out of the car is the only way to get your boots covered in desert dust and soak up the silence.
  4. (uncountable, US printing, rare, dated) A size of type small than German, 1-point type.
Synonyms: Western Hemispherian, New Worlder
proper noun: {{en-proper noun}}
  1. The English language as spoken in the USA; American English.
    • 1942, We sat down in the central square and drank coffee and a man came up and spoke to us in American. — Rebecca West, Black Lamb and Grey Falcon (Canongate 2006, p. 756)
adjective: {{en-adj}}
  1. Of or pertaining to the America. More often this is specified as either "North American" or "South American."
  2. Of, from, or pertaining to the United States of America, or . Thanksgiving is an American tradition. He married an American woman in order to get an American passport.
    • {{RQ:Melville Moby-Dick}} Should you ever be athirst in the great American desert, try this experiment, if your caravan happen to be supplied with a metaphysical professor.
Sometimes (usually outside of the USA) used pejoratively (see also anti-Americanism). Synonyms: Western Hemispherian, New Worlder, (US American) United Statesian, USAian, Usanian, Usonian, US American, US-ian; (in Cockney rhyming slang:) Septic, Usonan
  • (US American) North Atlanticist
  • amacrine
  • cinerama
  • in camera

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