Yankee Doodle

[ dood-l ]
/ ˈdud l /


(italics) a song with a melody of apparent British origin, popular with American troops during the Revolutionary War.
a Yankee.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for yankee doodle

Yankee Doodle


an American song, popularly regarded as a characteristically national melody
another name for Yankee
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 yankee doodle

Yankee Doodle

popular tune of the American Revolution, apparently written c.1755 by British Army surgeon Dr. Richard Schuckburgh while campaigning with Amherst's force in upper New York during the French and Indian War. The original verses mocked the colonial troops serving alongside the regulars, and the Doodle element just may have been, or hinted at, the 18c. slang term for "penis." The song naturally was popular with British troops in the colonies, but after the colonials began to win skirmishes with them in 1775, they took the tune as a patriotic prize and re-worked the lyrics. The current version seems to have been written in 1776 by Edward Bangs, a Harvard sophomore who also was a Minuteman.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for yankee doodle

“Yankee Doodle”

A popular American song, dating from the eighteenth century. The early settlers of New York were Dutch, and the Dutch name for Johnny is Janke, pronounced “Yankee.” This is the most likely origin of the term Yankee. Doodle meant “simpleton” in seventeenth-century English. First sung during the American Revolutionary War by the British troops to poke fun at the strange ways of the Americans (Yankees), the song was soon adopted by American troops themselves. Since then, the song has been considered an expression of American patriotism. The popular version of the first stanza is:

Yankee Doodle came to town
Riding on a pony;
He stuck a feather in his hat
And called it macaroni.
Yankee Doodle, keep it up,
Yankee Doodle dandy;
Mind the music and the step,
And with the girls be handy.
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.