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The expression Yankee (probably from the English adjective yankee , "excellent", derived from the English adjective yankee , "excellent", which has been documented in Cambridge / Mass. Since 1713 ) was originally (from 1765) used as a nickname for the residents of New England in the northern United States , for example by Mark Twain in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1889). During the Civil War , which lasted from 1861 to 1865 , the term was used disparagingly by the southerners of the United States to refer to the troops of the enemy northern states . They responded by making the Yankee Doodle their battle song and their unofficial national anthem .

Today it is predominantly used with this meaning in the United States, while the term "Yankee" is used outside the United States, usually with a derogatory undertone, for US Americans. The anti-American slogan “ Yankee Go Home ”, which was directed against the presence of US troops or the American way of life , was particularly popular in Latin countries .

The name may derive from the nickname used by Dutch immigrants, who were contemptuously called "Jan Kees" - Jan and Kees are common first names in the Netherlands. However, it has also been assumed that the word "English" is Americanized from the Wyandot (Huron) language , whose pronunciation of the French word "L'anglais" that has been adopted sounds similar: "Y'n-gee". There are a few other theories, for example that the name is derived from the English corruption "Yanke" from the common Dutch nickname and surname "Janke", which was used during the colonial period to designate Dutch-speaking colonists and settlers in the northeast of the later United States was used (see also Nieuw Nederland ).

The team name of the New York Yankees arose from the name .

At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries In the early 20th century, the Japanese were known as "Yankees of the East" because of their enterprising spirit in modernizing their country. In Japan itself, the term (transcribed as ヤ ン キ ー , yankī ) has referred to a juvenile delinquent since World War II .

See also


  • William R. Taylor: Cavalier and Yankee: The Old South and American National Character . Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA 1961.

Web links

  • Yankee. In: The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. Bartleby, 2000, archived from the original on May 8, 2008 ; accessed on August 18, 2008 .

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Walter W. Skeat : The Concise Dictionary of English Etymology. Wordsworth Editions, Ware (Hertfordshire) (1884) 1993 (several reprints), ISBN 1-85326-311-7 , p. 572 f.
  2. Irwin Silber, Jerry Silverman: Songs of the Civil War . Courier Dover Publications, 1995, ISBN 0-486-28438-7 , pp. 203 .
  3. ^ Friedrich Kluge, Elmar Seebold: Etymological dictionary of the German language. Ed .: Walter de Gruyter. 24th edition. alter de Gruyter, 2002, ISBN 3-11-017473-1 , p. 1001 .
  4. Michael Quinion: Port Out, Starboard Home . Ed .: World Wide Words. (English, worldwidewords.org [accessed August 18, 2008]).
  5. ^ Notices from the Geographical Society in Hamburg . tape 18 , 1902, pp. 308 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  6. William Eleroy Curtis: The Yankees of the East, Sketches of Modern Japan . New York 1896.