blondewords Publishing

digital publishers, Chippenham, UK

 

 

 

AMERICAN ENGLISH & AMERICANISMS

A list of earliest American words in chronological order

The Transpontine Series has a dual focus: the history of America and history of American English. As each book unfolds, new American English words appear in the colonies that is distinct from the English being used back in England. These are the words that feature throughout the series. Each book features the etymology, history and context of each one listed here.

 

Cannibal – Book 1 –

The first book, Cannibal, spans the period 1440–1515, so obviously doesn't feature any words coined in the United States. Think of this book as a prequel, so everything in this book leads up to the beginnings of America. There are several interesting words that set the scene for the 1500s.

cannibal (Eng. 1553)
America (Lat. 1507)

 

Roanoke – Book 2 –

The second book, Roanoke, spans the period 1515–1632 and covers Jamestown, Plymouth Colony and Massachusetts. these are the words that came out of that era. These are some of the earliest words coined in America – which some might call the first Americanisms.

Utopia (Lat. 1516, Eng. 1551)
Canada (Fr. 1534)
New World (Eng. 1555)
canoe (Eng. 1555)
savanna (Eng. 1555)
cacao (Eng. 1555)
hurricane (Eng. 1555)
tornado (Eng. 1556)
alligator (Eng. 1568)
mosquito (Eng. 1583)
Virginia (Eng. 1584)
Roanoke (Eng. 1585)
werowance (Eng. 1588)
tobacco (Eng. 1588)
savage (Eng. 1588)
tomate (Eng. 1604)
chocolate (Eng. 1604)


turkey (1607)
musk-kat, muske-rat (1607)
Indian corn (1608)
corne field (1608)
racoon (1608)
moccasin (1609/1612)
tomahawk (1609/1612)
live oak (1610)
opossum (1610)
doghouse (1611)
catfish (1612)
pone (1612)
moose (1613)
New England (1614)
poke/pokeweed (1615)
hickory (1618)
punk (1618)
planter (1619)
Thanksgiving (1621)
creek (1622)
branch (1624)
swamp (1624)
breeze (1624)
cockroach (1624)
powwow (1624)
rattlesnake (1630)
snakeweed (1630)
Indian field (1631)
clapboard (1632)

 

SKUNK – Book 3 –

This book, Skunk, spans the years 1633–1650 and covers the Early New England period that features Puritans, William Bradford, New Sweden and New Amsterdam. These are some of the American words coined in this period.

buffalo (1633)
skunk (1588/1634)
squash (1634)
squaw (1634)
select man (1635)
indian meal (1635)
public school (1636)
wampom (1636)
homestead (1638)
printery (1638)
statehouse (1638)
pull up stakes (1640)
pulpiteer (1642)
American language (1643)
samp (1643)
fork (1645)
plantation (1645)
sweet corn (1646)
cranberry (1647)
pumpkin (1647)
linkister (1649)
boss (1649)
beaver (1649)
knob (1650)

 

FRONTIER – Book 4 –

This book, Frontier, spans the years 1651 to 1763, covering such things as William Penn, the Salem Witch Trials, Mississippi exploration by the French and the emergence of "Yankees". Here are some of the new words or new meanings that formed in America.

to locate v. (1652)
blunderbuss (1654)
pumpkin pie (1654)
settable (1657)
Pilgrims/Pilgrim Fathers (c. 1660)
log house (1662)
bluff (1666)
scow (1669)
huckleberry (1670)
frontier (1671)
outliver (1675)
caribou (1676)
scalp v. (1676)
tote v. (1677)
mocking-bird (1676)
bury the hatchet (1680)
fan (1682)
bill (1682)
Yankee/Yankey (1683)
bits (1683)
backlog (1684)
Jamestown-weed, Jimson weed (1687)
Chicago (1688)
lengthy (1689)
mountain men (1691)
settler (1695)
sleigh (1696)
alma mater (1696)
alumnus (1696)
avocado (1697)
apple pie (1697)
Capitol (1698)
bull-frog (1698)
portage (FR 1698)
barbecue (1699)
redskin (1699)
colonist (1701)
dry goods (1701)
cookie (1703)
classmate (1713)
carry-all (1714)
lacrosse (1716)
schooner (1716)
notch (1718)
levee (FR 1719)
store (1721)
sophomore (1726)
electrify (1727)
bounty (1728)
logger (1732)
mass meeting (1733)
barbecue (1733)
bear (1733)
influential (ENG 1734)
frame house (1735)
stoop (1735)
awakening (1736)

 

The complete Transpontine Series of 20 books covers the entire period from 1440 to 1976. Although Americans coined more than 50,000 English words during these 400 years, that is way too many to cover realistically. However, the Transpontine book covers more than 3000 of them – in their individual context in American history.