Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
- This page is about the linguistic term. For other uses, see Americanism (disambiguation).
In terminology, an Americanism is a word or phrase used commonly in the United States that found recent introduction into British English (for example), especially through the popular media of television and movies. Some such dialectal terms are American coinages, whilst others are archaisms (e.g. "Fall" in the sense of "Autumn") that may also linger in other dialects.
Many expressions that spread from America are regarded as Americanisms for a while and then gradually become assimilated into British English. But if there is a direct equivalent, this tends not to happen; the American flavour is retained. For instance, British people may occasionally use the phrase "step on the gas" but remain aware that it is an Americanism because they continue to fill their cars with "petrol" (and so the phrases "step on it" or "put your foot down" remain much more widely used).
Some writing conventions fall into the second category. Sometimes the expressions "Mr. Smith" and "July 15th, 1960" are regarded as Americanisms, with "Mr Smith" and "15th July, 1960" their British equivalents.
Similar remarks presumably apply to other non-American varieties of English.
- American and British English differences
- List of American English words not used in British English
- List of British English words not used in American English
- List of words having different meanings in British and American English
- The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins, 1859
- Unnatural Death, Dorothy L. Sayers, 1927
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