14 May 2015

What Is a Yankee?

Someone on another blog has insinuated that using the term "Yankee" in "2015" is, well, I'm not quite sure . . . improper somehow? Interesting. Well, here's how Merriam-Webster (in 2015) defines the term:
Yankee
noun Yan·kee \ˈyaŋ-kē\

: a person born or living in the U.S.

: a person born or living in the northern U.S.

: a person from New England
And dictionary.com makes this observation (yes, in 2015):
Since the Civil War, American southerners have called all northerners Yankees. Since World War I, the rest of the world has used the term to refer to all Americans.
In my experience, the term is often used tongue-in-cheek to rib someone from the North and, believe it or not, as a term of endearment. I have two Yankee sons-in-law. I kid them about it all the time. And my Williams kinfolk are about as Yankee as could be - my great-great grandfather being a carpetbagger who, according to one of his death announcements, "never lost his yankee nasal twang." The term is also sometimes used as an insult, i.e. "damn Yankee." And anyone who reads much WBTS related history will come across the term quite frequently. So I'm not quite sure why someone would specifically feel a need to point the use of the term out unless, of course, they are somehow offended by the term. The term still (at least in the South) transcends the WBTS. And, like it or not, I imagine it will continue to do so for some time.

Lighten up. The late Southern humorist, Lewis Grizzard, might help some of y'all.





5 comments:

Chaps said...

Back in the day, I dated an officer of the Women's Royal Naval Service here on exchange tour from England. I once heard her refer to me as "my Yank." I quickly informed here that, where I come from, "Yank" was NOT a term of endearment.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Fortunately, I have more than enough Southern blood coursing through my veins to compensate for any lingering yankee tendencies (though my purely Southern wife might argue otherwise). ☺

Ralph said...

Grizzard is funny, but it really is sad the situation he describes.

Policeman can enunciate his words, is overweight and well...stupid.

I don't think that is something to be proud of...but it is your heritage.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Ralph - why all the hate? We probably think you talk funny. LOL.