Mudcat Café message #251571 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #22936   Message #251571
Posted By: Gary T
04-Jul-00 - 09:05 AM
Thread Name: BS: Happy Holidays, Colonials!!
Subject: RE: BS: Happy Holidays, Colonials!!
Thank you, Mike, and enjoy Old Midsummer's Day.

As to your question--"America" is pretty universally understood to mean the U.S., and "American" to mean someone from the U.S. (noun) or related to the U.S. (adjective).

Technically, America is not a continent; South America is, as is North America. And technically, you are right, any resident of the Americas could indeed be called an American. Every other country in the Americas, however, has its own name for its people--Canadians, Brazilians, Mexicans, etc. as you mentioned. No specific name like this (such as "Usatians") has been realistically accepted to be applied to us Yanks. So, we end up being called Americans by default and widespread understanding (if not full agreement).

It's not perfect terminology, but it's so well established it's unlikely to change.