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H.L. Mencken (1880–1956). The American Language. 1921.

Page 41

    1. The Spanish.
    2. The Dutch.
    3. The negro.
    4. The Chinese.

  1. Names of American things, embracing:
    1. Natural products.
    2. Manufactured articles.
  2. Perverted English words.
  3. Obsolete English words still in good use in America.
  4. English words, American by inflection and modification.
  5. Odd and ignorant popular phrases, proverbs, vulgarisms, and colloquialisms, cant and slang.
  6. Individualisms.
  7. Doubtful and miscellaneous.
  Clapin, in 1902, 77 reduced these categories to four:

  1. Genuine English words, obsolete or provincial in England, and universally used in the United States.
  2. English words conveying, in the United States, a different meaning from that attached to them in England.
  3. Words introduced from other languages than the English:—French, Dutch, Spanish, German, Indian, etc.
  4. Americanisms proper, i.e., words coined in the country, either representing some new idea or peculiar product.
  Thornton, in 1912, substituted the following:

  1. Forms of speech now obsolete or provincial in England, which survive in the United States, such as allow, bureau, fall, gotten, guess, likely, professor, shoat.
  2. Words and phrases of distinctly American origin, such as belittle, lengthy, lightning-rod, to darken one’s doors, to bark up the wrong tree, to come out at the little end of the horn, blind tiger, cold snap, gay Quaker, gone coon, long sauce, pay dirt, small potatoes, some pumpkins.
  3. Nouns which indicate quadrupeds, birds, trees, articles of food, etc., that are distinctively American, such as ground-hog, hang-bird, hominy, live-oak, locust, opossum, persimmon, pone, succotash, wampum, wigwam.
  4. Names of persons and classes of persons, and of places, such as Buckeye, Cracker, Greaser, Hoosier, Old Bullion, Old Hickory, the Little Giant, Dixie, Gotham, the Bay State, the Monumental City.
  5. Words which have assumed a new meaning, such as card, clever, fork, help, penny, plunder, raise, rock, sack, ticket, windfall.