The Origin of Yankee

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Yankee Pride or Damn Yankee?

The word Yankee has a different meaning for many of us. Some use it as a derisive term to hurt ones feelings, others use it proudly as an expression of patriotism. It is a struggle that has ensued since America began to be colonized. Where the word Yankee originated has been debated for many years. The most common belief is that it derived from the Dutch nick name “Janke” meaning Little John or Jack. It is also believed to be the product of poor pronunciation of the name of a Dutch pirate named John Kees or Captain Janke “Captain Johnny or Captain Yankee”. ( Many fictional stories have also been created describing its origin. One known story as believed by Virginians is that the word Yankee derived from the Cherokee word “eankke” and was said to have the definition of slave or coward. This theory has since been rejected by Oscar G Sonneck of the Librarian of Congress after a thorough study and being unable to prove any such Cherokee word exists. (The Encyclopedia Brittannica Inc.,) Regardless of its origin Yankee is a term that has developed in to geographical stereo types as well as a common insult and a term of hometown pride. states the definition as a noun, unknown to many the first definition is “a native or inhabitant of the united States” ( Many believe that “Yankee” only refers to a native of the Northern Region of the United States. That definition originally gained popularity during the Civil War when Confederate Soldiers began referring to Union Soldiers as “Yanks” or “Yankees”. However, it began as a word of mockery by early Dutch settlers in New York, then New Amsterdam, as an impolite reference to English speaking colonies, perhaps because of its use as a term for Dutch pirates. Later during the French and Indian War, British General James Wolfe used the term to derisively refer to Native New England Soldiers in his Army. (Family Word Finder, The Readers Digest...
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