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a term used by Americans to denote a New Englander. In other parts of the world, particularly the British Commonwealth, the term denotes any American. Its origin is unknown. It may be derived from Dutch--it was used as early as 1683 among pirates of the Spanish Main as a nickname for sailors of Dutch lineage. By 1765 it was in use as a derisive term for New Englanders, but by the Revolutionary War, with the influence of the marching song "Yankee Doodle," it was a term of pride. In the Civil War, "Yankee" and "Yank" were used by Southern soldiers to disparage their Northern enemies, and it survived in this usage throughout Reconstruction. The shortened form was used to refer to American troops in World Wars I and II. In Latin America the term Yanqui is applied to U.S. citizens, often with a note of hostility.

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Publication:Benet's Reader's Encyclopedia of American Literature
Article Type:Reference Source
Date:Jan 1, 1991
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