[uhn-uh-mer-i-kuh n]
  1. not American; not characteristic of or proper to the U.S.; foreign or opposed to the characters, values, standards, goals, etc., of the U.S.

Origin of un-American

An Americanism dating back to 1810–20
Related formsun-A·mer·i·can·ism, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for un-american

Contemporary Examples of un-american

Historical Examples of un-american

  • "Very un-American," remarked the singer, as he ate his crab bisque.


    James Huneker

  • And if this—Berg—thought him un-American for drinking an imported beverage, what of it?


    Poul William Anderson

  • The men were asked if they had heard of any un-American goings-on in the Navy Yard.

    Secret Armies

    John L. Spivak

  • They denounce those who cling to the doctrine as un-American.


    William Graham Sumner

  • Some of his compatriots hinted that his English life was making him un-American.

    The Arena


British Dictionary definitions for un-american


  1. not in accordance with the aims, ideals, customs, etc, of the US
  2. against the interests of the US
Derived Formsun-Americanism, noun
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 un-american



1818, from un- (1) "not" + American.

Everything is un-American that tends either to government by a plutocracy or government by a mob. [Theodore Roosevelt, 1917]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

un-american in Culture


A term used, primarily by extreme conservatives, to attack principles or practices considered to be at odds with the values of most Americans. Many object to the use of the term on the grounds that it is vague, shortsighted, and intolerant.


The House of Representatives maintained a Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) for several years. It was especially known for investigation of alleged communists. (See Alger Hiss.)
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.