• IPA: /ə.ˈmɛɹ.ɪ.kən/

American (plural Americans)

  1. Originally, a native or inhabitant of the British North American colonies; now, a person born in, or a citizen, national or inhabitant of, the United States of America. [from 17th c.]
    • 2008 August 9, Chris Moss, The Guardian:
      They say Americans don't walk. Well, they do in the Navajo Nation - because even if northern Arizona has gigabytes of photogenic vistas, getting out of the car is the only way to get your boots covered in desert dust and soak up the silence.
  2. An indigenous inhabitant of the Americas; a Native American or an American Indian (now chiefly with qualifying word). [from 16th c.]
    • 1711, Joseph Addison, The Spectator, 56.1:
      The Americans believe that all creatures have souls.
    • 2012, Jonathan Keates, ‘Mon Père, ce héros’, Literary Review, 402:
      Within a few months the ‘slave Alexandre’ had been successfully transformed into what, across the Channel, was called a ‘blackamoor dandy’. Parisians preferred the more politely euphemistic term ‘American’.
  3. An inhabitant of the Americas. More often this is specified as either North American, Central American or South American.
    Every American's origin is, historically speaking, by immigration, if scientific speculation that points to a human origin in Africa and a migration to the New World from Eurasia turns out to be correct.
  4. (uncountable, US printing, rare, dated) A size of type smaller than German, 1-point type.
Synonyms Translations Translations Translations
  • German: Achtelpetit
Proper noun
  1. The English language as spoken in the U.S.; American English.
    • 1942, Rebecca West, Black Lamb and Grey Falcon (Canongate 2006), page 756:
      We sat down in the central square and drank coffee and a man came up and spoke to us in American.
Translations Adjective


  1. Of, from, or pertaining to the Americas.
    North American. Central American. South American.
  2. Of, from, or pertaining to the United States of America, its people or its culture.
    • 1851 November 13, Herman Melville, chapter 1, in Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, 1st American edition, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers; London: Richard Bentley, OCLC 57395299 ↗:
      Should you ever be athirst in the great American desert, try this experiment, if your caravan happen to be supplied with a metaphysical professor.
    • 2019 April 14, Jennifer Welsh Zeiter in "Putting American Flags on Police Cars Sparks Backlash in Laguna Beach" ↗, Los Angeles Times:
      ...they cannot see through their current biases to realize that a police vehicle with the American flag is the ultimate American expression.
    He married an American woman in order to get an American passport.
    Thanksgiving is an American tradition.
  3. (finance, of an option, not comparable) That can be exercised on any date between the issue date and the expiry date.
    • 2009, John C. Hull, Options, Futures, and other Derivatives (Seventh Edition), Pearson Education, page 182:
      All of these trade on the Chicago Board Options Exchange. Most of the contracts are European. An exception is the OEX contract on the S&P 100, which is American.
    • 2009, Shih-Feng Huang and Meihui Guo, Applied Quantitative Finance (Second Edition), Springer, page 295:
      Multi-dimensional option pricing becomes an important topic in financial markets (Franker et al., 2008). Among which, the American-type derivative (e.g. the Bermudan option) pricing is a challenging problem.
    • 2010, Johnathan Mun, Modeling Risk + DVD: Applying Monte Carlo Risk Simulation, Strategic Real Options, Stochastic Forecasting, and Portfolio Optimization (Second Edition), John Wiley & Sons:
      Based on the analyses throughout the case study, it is recommended that the use of a model that assumes an ESO is European style when, in fact, the option is American style with the other exotic variables should not be permitted, as this substantially overstates compensation expenses.
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