kelly and Melissa Carrion: Origin of Yankee?
Steve Hess: I just looked this'n up not long ago. Apparently it derives from the Dutch diminutive form of John (Jan >> Janke = Johnnie) and was used by and among Dutch immigrants to North America, particularly New England. Thereafter it developed into a U.S. term denoting "northerner" (ca. 1800's, e.g. Civil War), and globally into a general term for U.S. Americans (as opposed to Canadians, Mexicans, and other Central and South Americans).
Kurt Tappe: According to Random House, it was first used by Dutch New Yorkers in the mid- to late-1600s to describe the English in Connecticut. They were called "John Cheese" by those in NY, which in Dutch read "Jan Kees." With the "j" being pronounced with a scandinavian "y" sound, this became bastardized into "yankees" by others. It was mistaken for a plural, and the word "yankee" was born to describe someone living in CT. It then spread in meaning over the years to mean northerners and then all Americans (outside the US).
According to Alan Lomax (1915-, American folksong collector), the word was in popular use not only nationally, but at also at least in Britain by the time of the Revolutionary War. That's when the term "yankee doodle" was coined by British troops as a satire upon the bumpkin American militia they defeated in early battles of the American Revolutionary War. Later on, as one British soldier wrote, `After the affair at Bunker's Hill, Americans glory in it.' By the way, despite much research, the origin of the melody "Yankee Doodle Dandy" has never been precisely determined.
Aaron Slater: The Dutch had a derisive term, "Jan Kaas" (pronounced "yawn")which has a literal Anglo equivalent of "John Cheese" (as in the food-stuff) or a more recognizable modern variation of "Joe Shmoe" or "Joe Blow" which was applied regionally to neighbors in New England but came later to refer to any American but then especially Notherners during the Civil War and later folks in the US during the World Wars.
James Fennimore Cooper proposed that it came from Indian (Amer-Indian) mispronounciation of "English" ("Yengees" or "Anglais") but he's wrong.
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