American, American or North American? Disputes over the use of the term for US-born

  • Vitor Tavares
  • From BBC News Brazil in Sao Paulo

Woman holds USA flag

Credit, Getty Images

Think fast: what term do you use in Portuguese to refer to those born in the United States of America?

American? North American? American?

Regardless of your answer, it is correct, according to Portuguese language manuals and dictionaries. But your choice can reveal, in a way, how you think…

The Houaiss Dictionary, one of the most respected in Portuguese, puts the terms as equivalent: “American = relative to the United States of America (United States of America) or what is its native or inhabitant; American, North American, Yankee.”

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