Definition of Yankee in English:



  • 1derogatory An American.

    • ‘Sistani is playing the fence, while Sadr has maintained a simple line from day one, Yankee go home.’
    • ‘As the seemingly token Yankee on this here corner of the blogosphere, I almost feel it necessary for me to apologize for my northern brethren, and quite frankly for myself.’
    • ‘‘Damn Yankee,’ I spat back, a mischievous grin crossing my face.’
    • ‘When I ask if you would please get me a Coke, you're supposed to ask me what kind of Coke, because I could mean a Sprite or a Dr. Pepper, you Yankee.’
    • ‘But if he is coming to dictate what we should do, then we will say ‘Go back home, Yankee.’’
    • ‘Wipe the smarmy smirk off that damn Yankee's face tonight.’
    • ‘UPDATE: Yankee's 17-year-old son writes pretty damn well, too.’
  • 2US An inhabitant of New England or one of the northern states.

    • ‘Whatever the reason, Yankee is first recorded in 1765 as a name for an inhabitant of New England.’
    1. 2.1historical A Federal soldier in the Civil War.
      • ‘What did the Yankee soldiers think of Huntsville?’
      • ‘As the Roman god Janus looks in two directions, so did the homebound Yankee soldiers.’
      • ‘With their swords and muskets raised the Yankee soldier began killing every confederate soldier in sight.’
      • ‘The Civil War begins and Inman is enlisted to fight the Yankees, but after months of apparently futile heroism, he deserts, determined to make his way back to Ada.’
      • ‘Marly's ex-husband tells her, ‘I'm not one of these people who lives in the past,’ while wearing a Yankee civil war uniform.’
      • ‘Matthew McConaughey would be perfect as Dennis, if he didn't have to play a Yankee in a civil war reenactment.’
  • 3A bet on four or more horses to win (or be placed) in different races.

    • ‘For sheer excitement it would be hard to surpass the M.D.Betting Yankee stake final at Newbridge Friday.’
    • ‘I had £32 running on to Hateel, the 11/8 favourite and shortest-odds horse in my Yankee, in the Listed Glorious Stakes at 3.45.’
  • 4Sailing
    A large jib set forward of a staysail in light winds.

    • ‘Far from being an isolated port, one early nineteenth-century view of Monterey harbor shows a Russian brig, a Yankee schooner, and another ship at anchor.’
    • ‘Before we left Cape Town we bent on the storm mainsail and set a Yankee jib in the groove of the furling gear.’
    • ‘I went forward and lowered the staysail so that it did not blanket the wind from the small, Yankee jib.’
  • 5A code word representing the letter Y, used in radio communication.


Mid 18th century: origin uncertain; recorded in the late 17th century as a nickname; perhaps from Dutch Janke, diminutive of Jan John.