Americanisms, a word defined as a term, phrase, or idiom of the English language as spoken in America (or in the United States) which either (a) originated in America; or, (b) is peculiar to America; or, (c) is chiefly employed in America. The following is a list of a few of the more noteworthy Americanisms:
Around or round. -- About or near. To hang around is to loiter about.
Backwoods. -- The partially cleared forest regions in the western states.
Bayou. -- In Louisiana, a term given to a small stream. The same as "creek."
Bee. -- An assemblage of persons to unite their labors for the benefit of an individual or family or to carry out a joint scheme.
Bogus. -- False; counterfeit.
Boss. -- An employer or superintendent of laborers; a leader.
Bulldoze, to. -- To intimidate.
Bunco. -- A swindling game.
Buncombe or Bunkum. -- A speech made solely to please a constituency; talking for talking's sake, and in an inflated style.
Calculate. -- To suppose, to believe, to think.
Camp-meeting. -- A meeting held in the fields or woods for religious purposes, and where the assemblage encamp and remain for several days.
Car. -- A carriage or wagon of a railway train. The Englishman "travels by rail," the American takes, or goes by, the cars.
Carpet-bagger. -- A needy political adventurer who carries all his earthly goods in a carpet-bag; originally applied to politicians from the Northern States who sought offices in the South after the Civil War.
Caucus. -- A private meeting of the leading politicians of a party to agree upon the plans to be pursued in an approaching election.
Chunk. -- A short, thick piece of wood or any other material.
Corn. -- Maize. In England, wheat or grain in general.
Corn-husking or Corn-shucking. -- An occasion on which a farmer invites his neighbors to assist him in stripping the husks from his corn.
Creek. -- A small tributary of a large river. Used chiefly in the West.
Dead-heads. -- People who have free admission to entertainments, or who have the use of public conveyances, or the like, free of charge.
Down East. -- In or into the New England States. A down-easter is a New Englander.
Drummer. -- A commercial traveler.
Dry goods. -- A general term for such articles as are sold by linen-drapers, haberdashers, hosiers, etc., in England.
Fix, to. -- To put in order, to prepare, to adjust. To fix the hair, the table, the fire, is to dress the hair, lay the table, make up the fire.
Fixings. -- Arrangements, dress, embellishments, luggage, furniture, garnishments of any kind.
Fork. -- Used in the Southwest in a similar sense to "creek."
Freeze out. -- To get rid of objectionable persons.
Gerrymander. -- To arrange political divisions so that in an election one party may obtain an advantage over its opponent, even though the latter may possess a majority of votes.
Grab. -- To gain a privilege without proper payment.
Greenback. -- A former kind of paper money.
Guess, to. -- To believe, to suppose, to think.
Gulch. -- A deep, abrupt ravine, caused by the action of water.
Happen in, to. -- To happen to come in or call.
Hatchet, to bury or take up the. -- To end or begin war.
Help. -- The labor of hired persons collectively; the body of servants belonging to a farm or household or factory.
Hoe-cake. -- A cake of corn meal baked on or before the fire.
Hoodlum. -- A rough.
How! -- Indian abbreviation of "How do you do?"
Jolly, to. -- To flatter, to tease, to poke fun at.
Johnny cake. -- A cake made of corn meal mixed with milk or water.
Log-rolling. -- The assembly of several parties of wood-cutters to help one of them in rolling their logs to the river after they are felled and trimmed; also employed in politics to signify a like system of mutual cooperation.
Lynch law. -- An irregular species of justice executed by the people or a mob, without legal authority or trial.
Mail letters, to. -- To post letters.
Make tracks, to. -- To run away.
Mush. -- A kind of hasty-pudding.
Nickel. -- A five-cent coin.
Notions. -- A term applied to every variety of small wares.
One-horse. -- A one-horse thing is a thing of no value or importance; a mean or trifling thing.
Oxbow. -- The bend in a river or the land inclused within such a bend.
Peart (in the South). -- Equal to smart or well.
Piazza. -- A veranda.
Picayune. -- A trifle.
Pickaninny. -- A negro child.
Pile. -- A quantity of money.
Planks. -- In politics, the several principles which appertain to a party; "platform" is the collection of such principles.
Pull. -- A special individual favor.
Reckon, to. -- To suppose, to think.
Right smart. -- Very well.
Roast, to. -- To criticize severely.
Scab. -- A non-union workman.
Scalawag. -- A scamp, a scapegrace.
Shake. -- To leave a person.
Skedaddle, to. -- To run away, a word introduced during the Civil war.
Smart. -- Used in the sense of considerable, a good deal, as a smart chance; also equal to well, as "right smart," very well.
Stakes, to pluck or pull up. -- To remove.
Stampede. -- The sudden flight of a crowd, or of cattle or horses.
Stiff. -- In medical schools, a corpse.
Store. -- Same as shop in Great Britain; as a book store, a grocery store.
Strike oil, to. -- To come upon petroleum; hence, to make a lucky hit, especially financially.
Stump speech. -- A speech calculated to please the popular ear, such speeches in newly settled districts being often delivered from the stumps of trees.
Ticker. --A watch; also a telegraph receiver.
Ticket, to vote the straight. -- To vote for all the men or measures on the ticket.
Truck. -- The small produce of gardens; truck patch, a plot in which the smaller fruits and vegetables are raised.
Turn down, to. -- To reject or ignore; used of office seekers especially.
Vamose, to. -- To run off.
Vendue. -- An auction; to vendue, to sell at auction.
Whoop it up. -- To create an excitement.
Wilt. -- To become soft or languid, to lose energy, pith, or strength.
Entry from Everybody's Cyclopedia, 1912.