FAQ #83 – Why Do You Say AMERICANS?

We’re often corrected by angry Central and South Americans when we call ourselves “Americans.” Their argument is that everyone in North, Central and South America is “American” and the implication is that we’re elitist for only using the term to refer to people from the United States of America.

The Spanish language has a specific word used to label people from the United States: Estadounidense or abbreviated as EE. UU. However, the English language has no such word. Instead, people from all over the world refer to us simply as “Americans.” Wherever we go in the world, people call us Americans.

If you’re from Ecuador, you likely call yourself Ecuadorian, not American. If you’re from Colombia, you likely call yourself Colombian, not American. If you’re from Brazil, you likely call yourself Brazilian, not American.

“American” is just a shorter way to say, “United States of American.” The term was assigned and adopted long ago by people who didn’t have an issue with the name’s semantics.

So to keep things simple and reduce confusion, we will continue to call ourselves American since there is no other word that is used and understood by our worldwide audience.


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