[uh-mer-i-kuh-niz-uh m]


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 formspro-A·mer·i·can·ism, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for americanisms

Historical Examples of americanisms

  • I thanked him for the item, resolving to add it to my list of curious Americanisms.

    Ruggles of Red Gap

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • The expressions "right here" and "right there" are Americanisms.

    The Verbalist

    Thomas Embly Osmun, (AKA Alfred Ayres)

  • He published a vocabulary of Americanisms, and a Greek and English lexicon.

  • The best of these collections of Americanisms, and by long odds, is Thornton's.

    The American Language

    Henry L. Mencken

  • Thornton shows that jag, bust, bat and to crook the elbow are also Americanisms.

    The American Language

    Henry L. Mencken

British Dictionary definitions for americanisms



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

Word Origin and History for americanisms



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