What is a Yankee?

Kenna D   Fri Sep 09, 2005 4:25 pm GMT
What is a Yankee?

To a citizen of the world, a Yankee is an American.

To an American, a Yankee is a Northerner.

To a Northerner, a Yankee is a New Englander.

To a New Englander, a Yankee is a Vermonter.

To a Vermonter, a Yankee is a person who eats pie for breakfast.

(Origins unknown, but believed to have been printed in Outdoor Life magazine, c. 1968.)

{Source: Courtesy of The Yankee Candle Company, Deerfield, Massachusetts.}
Lazar   Fri Sep 09, 2005 9:16 pm GMT
I'm a Yankee (as in, a New Englander), and yet simultaneously I despise the Yankees (as in, the evil baseball franchise). ;-)
Geoff_One   Fri Sep 09, 2005 9:36 pm GMT
The New York Yankees baseball team.
Brennus   Fri Sep 09, 2005 9:54 pm GMT
What is a Yankee?

A name for Anglo-Americans; it dates from the early 18th century. The origin of the name is uncertain but probably an Indian corruption of the French name for the English 'Anglais'. Before the end of the Colonial period, however, not only were the British using it as a slang term for American colonials but even southern colonists in the thirteen colonies were beginning to use the word to refer to their northern counterparts. During the Revolutionary War a Connecticut soldier in George Washington's Army wrote a letter complaining about how southern soldiers in the same army frequently called him a "damn Yankee."
Gjones2   Fri Sep 09, 2005 11:34 pm GMT
Even before the country had won its independence, 'Yankee' was being used to refer to the people of a particular region -- "Those volunteers from the southern colonies--Virginia, Maryland--they're no more fighters than the Yankees. Their army is all broken in pieces, and the spirit of their leaders is broken also. We will be headed for Philadelphia. I expect on no opposition at all. I think we can safely conclude that it is just about over for them." [Lord Francis Rawdon, British officer with General Howe, fall 1777] http://pbsvideodb.pbs.org/resources/liberty/sr_03.html
american nic   Sat Sep 10, 2005 12:36 am GMT
1683, a name applied disparagingly by Du. settlers in New Amsterdam (New York) to English colonists in neighboring Connecticut. It may be from Du. Janke, lit. "Little John," dim. of common personal name Jan; or it may be from Jan Kes familiar form of "John Cornelius," or perhaps an alt. of Jan Kees, dial. variant of Jan Kaas, lit. "John Cheese," the generic nickname the Flemings used for Dutchmen. It originally seems to have been applied insultingly to Dutch, especially freebooters, before they turned around and slapped it on the English. In Eng. a term of contempt (1750s) before its use as a general term for "native of New England" (1765); during the American Revolution it became a disparaging British word for all American native or inhabitants. Shortened form Yank in reference to "an American" first recorded 1778.
Uriel   Sat Sep 10, 2005 1:19 am GMT
I think nowadays to qualify as a Yankee, you have to live north of the Mason-Dixon Line and east of the Mississippi. The rest of us are off the hook.
Brennus   Sat Sep 10, 2005 4:43 am GMT

You're right as far as just the United States is concerned but when I lived in Canada for a little while in 1974 I found that Canadians consider all Americans to be Yankees and even referred to our money as "Yankee dollars". Canada was going through a strong period of anti-Americanism in the early 1970's because Americans owned about 3/4 of the business's there at that time. Some of that subsided a decade later when Americans started allowing Canadians to own more business's in the U.S.
Uriel   Sat Sep 10, 2005 4:48 am GMT
It IS strange that as much as foreigners love to call us Yanks, Yankees, yanquis, etc., the term is hardly ever used by Americans themselves.
Kirk   Sat Sep 10, 2005 8:03 am GMT
<<It IS strange that as much as foreigners love to call us Yanks, Yankees, yanquis, etc., the term is hardly ever used by Americans themselves.>>

Yes. I remember talking about that my friends in Argentina. Most of them were surprised when I told them that to me, calling something/someone "yanqui" (pronounced "shanqui" in Buenos Aires Spanish of course ;) ) means they're from New England or the Northeast US. It's so far removed from me and where I live that I hardly ever hear it, so if it's meant as insulting or derogatory it doesn't really have much effect for me (or most Americans, I assume)...it's like, "um, you just implied I was from New England--is that offensive somehow?"
Damian in Alba   Sat Sep 10, 2005 12:13 pm GMT
Here in the UK the term "Yankee" is never used.....not to my knowledge anyway. "Yankee" to most people here who have a basic knowledge of American history is something out of the American Civil War....one side of the conflict. Perhaps some confusion may exist as to which was which as opposed to the Confederates.

Yanks is widely used to refer to anyone from the USA irrespective of whereabouts in America from where they come. Anyone with an obvious American accent is called a Yank.

To be honest, the word Yank here in the UK is used somewhat disparagingly. Sorry.....no offence at all intended.......in my job I have to report things as they are!

Many Americans refer to Brits as Limeys (probably irrespective of whereabouts in the UK from where they come. That may be considered derogatory as well? Not sure really.
Rick Johnson   Sat Sep 10, 2005 2:50 pm GMT
In many respects the fact that British people now refer to themselves as "Brits" shows how times change. I can't remember anyone but Americans using that phrase twenty years ago- now it's commonly used in newspapers and on the news. Maybe in another twenty years Americans will refer to themselves as Yanks!!
Scottish Tom   Sat Sep 10, 2005 3:18 pm GMT
We get offended when people call us the Scotch.
Scottish Damian   Sat Sep 10, 2005 3:33 pm GMT
**We get offended when people call us the Scotch**

Too true! Scotch on it's own comes out of a bottle.
Uriel   Sat Sep 10, 2005 5:06 pm GMT
And the Scots on their own are trying to get back IN....

I don't think Limey is terribly derogatory, more like poke-in-the-ribs fun, and it's not all that common, because generally, to us, you're all just "English". (Just kidding! Hold your fire!)

I didn't know you all had adopted "Brits" finally ... but don't hold your breath on us cozying up to "Yank".

"Brits" at least sounds plausible as a short form of Briton or British, and yes, we are sadly aware of our status as the redheaded stepchild of the English-speaking world (rolling eyes).