Yank/yankee – Little Dutch person

Yank / Yankee – Actually means something slightly different depending on who’s saying it; outside of the USA it is used to refer to an American, in the US, it refers to someone from the Northern states, and in the Northern states, it is specifically someone from the North-East, it seems no-one is keen to accept this term as there own.

The first known usage was by a British general in 1758 – James Wolfe who had at his command some dutch soldiers, the dutch having arrived to settle in the Americas too. The term Yankee, is thought to come from the dutch term ‘Janke’ meaning ‘little john’. This being in line with the tradition of giving a race a pejorative term of a common name followed by something associated with that nation; The English being ‘Jack-pudding’, German’s being ‘Hanswurst’ (Jack sausage) etc. The term little john, referring to the belief that Dutch people tended to be of small stature – just for interest – the British general, thought this made them very good scouts.


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