phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at


Posted by ESC on February 06, 2001

In Reply to: Yankee posted by ernst blofelt on February 06, 2001

: anyone know where Yankee as in Yankee Doodle Dandy originates from and why ?

: drop me a line on [email protected]

: nice

: eb.

I'll bet this is one of those words that has several theories to explain its origin. Here's what one source says: YANKEE - ".Originally, 'Yankee' was 'Jan Kaas,' a disparaging nickname for a Hollander ('Jan' meaning 'John' and 'Kaas' or 'Kees' meaning 'cheese') Later it came to be used as a term for a Dutch freebooter. The Dutch, after coming to America and settling in what is now New York, applied the term to the English who moved into Connecticut. For a while 'Yankee' was used generally in the colonies to apply to any northern neighbor who was disliked, but by the time of the Revolutionary War, the British had come to use it to apply to any colonist. In fact, the song 'Yankee Doodle Dandy' was originally a song of derision sung by British soldiers to mock the poorly clothed colonialists.Novelist John Fenimore Cooper had a different theory.Indians, said Cooper, pronounced 'English' as 'Yengees'.Professor Harold Bender, who contributed his vast and profound scholarship to the great 'Merriam-Webster New International,' Second Edition.(said) 'Often derived, Indian corruption of English, or Anglais, but probably from a D(utch) derivation of 'Jan' as applied by the Dutch of New York to the English of Connecticut." From "Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins" by William and Mary Morris (HarperCollins, New York, 1977, 1988).