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90s Slang You Should Know


[uh-mer-i-kuh-niz-uh m] /əˈmɛr ɪ kəˌnɪz əm/
a custom, trait, belief, etc., peculiar to the United States of America or its citizens.
  1. a word, phrase, or other language feature that is especially characteristic of the English language as spoken or written in the U.S.
  2. such a word or phrase first recorded in American Engish.
devotion to or preference for the U.S. and its institutions.
Origin of Americanism
First recorded in 1775-85; American + -ism
Related forms
pro-Americanism, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for Americanism
Historical Examples
  • This is the portion eaten, and to use an Americanism, "It is not at all hard to take."

    Fruits of Queensland Albert Benson
  • The tyranny is greatest in regard to "American" and "Americanism."

    Folkways William Graham Sumner
  • Fit, an Americanism denoting the preterite of the verb to fight.

    The Slang Dictionary John Camden Hotten
  • If there is any document of Americanism, it is the Declaration of Independence.

    Folkways William Graham Sumner
  • The country is—to use an Americanism—in a pretty fix, if this McClellan turns out to be a mistake.

  • To use a beautiful Americanism, we may as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb.

    Doctor Jones' Picnic S. E. Chapman
  • A ounce of Americanism is worth a pound of red propaganda, as the poet says, or would of had he written to-day.

    Believe You Me! Nina Wilcox Putnam
  • Americanism as typified by Claude Leslie is a new revelation.

    Oswald Langdon Carson Jay Lee
  • If you appreciate your Americanism, young man, show it by being a part of American institutions.

    The Young Man and the World Albert J. Beveridge
  • The use of the verb to locate in the sense of to settle is said to be an Americanism.

    The Verbalist Thomas Embly Osmun, (AKA Alfred Ayres)
British Dictionary definitions for Americanism


a custom, linguistic usage, or other feature peculiar to or characteristic of the United States, its people, or their culture
loyalty to the United States, its people, customs, etc
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for Americanism

1781, in reference to words or phrases distinct from British use, coined by John Witherspoon (1723-1794), president of Princeton College, from American + -ism. (American English "English language as spoken in the United States" is first recorded 1806, in Webster.) Americanism in the patriotic sense "attachment to the U.S." is attested from 1797, first found in the writings of Thomas Jefferson.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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