Uncle Sam

   The United States government was first caricatured as Jonathan, a shrewd Yankee, in Royall Tyler's play The Contrast. But a new personification of the United States government surfaced during the War of 1812. He was "Uncle Sam." There are several theories of his origin, but one has been accepted by most word sleuths as the most likely. It concerns a meat packer in Troy, New York, named Samuel Wilson, whose nickname was "Uncle Sam." He stamped the boxes he was sending to the Army with the initials U.S., meaning, of course, "United States." But the employees got in the habit of saying, "Be sure the box is stamped Uncle Sam, the two words rolling off the tongue more easily than the blunt "U.S." True or not, Uncle Sam came to be widely accepted. In September 7, 1813, the Troy Post, published in Troy, New York, was the first to refer to the United States government in print as Uncle Sam. Uncle Sam changed his habiliments as he grew older. He became more fashionable. When he first appeared in 1830 in cartoons; he was cleanshaven and wore a robe, no trousers. During the presidency of Abraham Lincoln, Uncle Sam took on another attire and, possibly aping the president, became hairy at least to the extent of a goatee. He was lanky and wore a red, white, and blue top hat and swallowtails, the dress so ubiquitously shown in the Army poster in which Uncle Sam points and says, "I Want You."
   In 1961 Congress passed a special resolution recognizing Uncle Sam as America's symbol.

Dictionary of eponyms. . 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Uncle Sam — is a national personification of the United States (US), with the first usage of the term dating from the War of 1812 and the first illustration dating from 1852. He is often depicted as a serious elderly white man with white hair and a goatee,… …   Wikipedia

  • Uncle Sam — (s. ⇨ Pickfiester, ⇨ Piepmeier und ⇨ Rundkopf). *1. Uncle Sam. »Uncle Sam« ist der Volksausdruck für die Regierung der Vereinigten Staaten, wie für das Volk »Bruder ⇨ Jonathan« (s.d.) Nach Frost s Naval History of the United States ist sein… …   Deutsches Sprichwörter-Lexikon

  • Uncle Sam — Uncle Un cle, n. [OE. uncle, OF. oncle, uncle, F. oncle, fr. L. avunculus a maternal uncle, dim. of avus a grandfather; akin to Lith. avynas uncle, Goth. aw? grandmother, Icel. [=a]i great grandfather.] 1. The brother of one s father or mother;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Uncle Sam — symbol of the United States of America, 1813, coined during the war with Britain as a contrast to John Bull, and no doubt suggested by the initials U.S. [L]ater statements connecting it with different government officials of the name of Samuel… …   Etymology dictionary

  • uncle sam — (USA) Uncle Sam is the government of the USA …   The small dictionary of idiomes

  • Uncle Sam — (Oenkl Säm), machte der amerikan. Volkswitz aus U. S. (d.h. united states, Vereinigte Staaten), der Aufschrift auf beweglichem nordamerikanischem Staatseigenthume; daher: Nordamerikaner, die Yankees …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • Uncle Sam — (izg. ànkl sȅm) DEFINICIJA popularno ime za »tipičnog Amerikanca«, često upotrebljavano i kao simbolično ime za SAD; prikazan kao visok, mršav muškarac sa sijedom bradicom i šeširom sa zvjezdicama, odjeven u plavi sako i crveno bijele prugaste… …   Hrvatski jezični portal

  • uncle sam — англ. (анкл сэм) «дядя Сэм», ироническое название США, переосмысленная расшифровка букв U. S. (United States Соединенные Штаты); также шутливое прозвище американцев. Толковый словарь иностранных слов Л. П. Крысина. М: Русский язык, 1998 …   Словарь иностранных слов русского языка

  • Uncle Sam — (spr. Onkl Sämm), scherzhafte Benennung der Nordamerikaner u. ihrer Regierung, entstanden aus der officiellen Abkürzung U. S. Am. (s.d.) …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Uncle Sam — (engl.), scherzhafte Bezeichnung der Nordamerikaner, entstanden aus der amtlichen Abkürzung U. S. Am. für United States of America, scheint zuerst während des zweiten Krieges der Nordamerikaner mit England (1812–14) aufgekommen zu sein …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Uncle Sam — (engl., spr. önkl ßämm), scherzhafte Benennung der Nordamerikaner, entstanden aus der Abkürzung U.S.Am. = United States of America (Ver. Staaten von Amerika) …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

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