[uh-mer-i-kuh n]
  1. of or relating to the United States of America or its inhabitants: an American citizen.
  2. of or relating to North or South America; of the Western Hemisphere: the American continents.
  3. of or relating to the aboriginal Indians of North and South America, usually excluding the Eskimos, regarded as being of Asian ancestry and marked generally by reddish to brownish skin, black hair, dark eyes, and prominent cheekbones.
  1. a citizen of the United States of America.
  2. a native or inhabitant of the Western Hemisphere.
  3. an Indian of North or South America.
  4. American English.
  5. a steam locomotive having a four-wheeled front truck, four driving wheels, and no rear truck.

Origin of American

First recorded in 1570–80; Americ(a) + -an
Related formsA·mer·i·can·ly, adverbA·mer·i·can·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for americanness


  1. of or relating to the United States of America, its inhabitants, or their form of English
  2. of or relating to the American continent
  1. a native or citizen of the US
  2. a native or inhabitant of any country of North, Central, or South America
  3. the English language as spoken or written in the United States
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 americanness


1570s (n.); 1590s (adj.), from Modern Latin Americanus, from America (q.v.); originally in reference to what now are called Native Americans; the sense of "resident of North America of European (originally British) descent" is first recorded 1640s (adj.); 1765 (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper