Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Sun Mar 18 13:29:02 UTC 2012

1648 Thomas Gage _The English-American, His Travail by Land and Sea_
(London: Blanden & Williams).

Generally an "American" meant an "Indian" (i.e., a native American) rather
than an American.

The first non-American  "American" was Virginia Dare (b. 1589). (Though not
an American in the current sense of American because there was no America
in the relevant current sense.) However, there weren't enough non-American
Americans born in America for that potential usage to be of any value or
significance until much later. By the time there were enough non-American
Americans being born, there were  even more English-speaking settlers who
might or might not think of themselves as Americans, depending on the
context, even though they thought of themselves as really English.  Unless
they were Scottish, Welsh, or Irish, or, later, "Scotch-Irish," which has
very little independent meaning either.  (Many of the so-called
"Scotch-Irish" were English, and few of them, including the "Scotch" [sic]
were in Ulster long enough to have become "Irish" in any way except

And why does no one protest the hijacking of "American" by all Europeans
from Point Barrow to Tierra del Fuego?  An American historically is a
"Native American" and not a "native American."

And don't get me started on the word "native."


On Sun, Mar 18, 2012 at 4:11 AM, W Brewer <brewerwa at> wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       W Brewer <brewerwa at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: American
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Joel S. Berson wrote:  <<<Now chiefly: a native or citizen of the United
> States>>>
> WB: of Mexico?
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

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