Webster 1828 Edition



[from Amerigo Vespucci, a Florentine, who pretended to have first discovered the western continent.]
One of the great continents, first discovered by Sebastian Cabot, June 11, O.S. 1498, and by Columbus, or Christoval Colon, Aug. 1, the same year. It extends from the eightieth degree of North, to the fifty-fourth degree of South Latitude; and from the thirty-fifth to the one hundred and fifty-sixth degree of Longitude West from Greenwich, being about nine thousand miles in length. Its breadth at Darien is narrowed to about forty-five miles, but at the northern extremity is nearly four thousand miles. From Darien to the North, the continent is called North America, and to the South, it is called South America.

Definition 2024



See also: América, Amèrica, and americà


Alternative forms

  • (the United States of America): Merica/ 'Murica/ 'murica (nonstandard, often jocular or representing dialect)
  • (North and South America): Americas

Proper noun

America (plural Americas)

  1. The United States of America.
    • 2013 May 25, “No hiding place”, in The Economist, volume 407, number 8837, page 74:
      In America alone, people spent $170 billion on “direct marketing”—junk mail of both the physical and electronic varieties—last year. Yet of those who received unsolicited adverts through the post, only 3% bought anything as a result.
  2. The Americas.
    • 2009, Diarmaid MacCulloch, A History of Christianity (Penguin 2010), page 691:
      Franciscan attitudes in the Canaries offered possible precedents for what Europe now came to call ‘the New World’, or, through a somewhat tangled chain of circumstances, ‘America’.

Usage notes

In English, the unqualified term "America" typically refers to the United States of America, with "American" typically referring to people and things from that country. The sense of "the Americas" is uncommon in contemporary English, but is still found in some specific circumstances, such as in reference to the Organization of American States.


  • 1922, James Joyce, Ulysses, II.402:
    Thou sawest thy America, thy lifetask, and didst charge to cover like the transpontine bison.



See also


Most common English words before 1923: camp · prove · engaged · #992: America · servant · doctor · Michael


Proper noun

America f

  1. (continent) the Americas

Derived terms




Feminine form of Americus, the Latinized form of the forename of Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci (1454–1512).

First recorded in 1507 (together with the related term Amerigen) in the Cosmographiae Introductio, apparently written by Matthias Ringmann, in reference to South America;[1] first applied to both North and South America by Mercator in 1538. Amerigen means "land of Amerigo" and derives from Amerigo and gen, the accusative case of Greek "earth". America accorded with the feminine names of Asia, Africa, and Europa.[2]

Amerigo is the Italian form of a Germanic personal name. For more, see the Wikipedia article on the etymology of America.

Proper noun

America f (genitive Americae); first declension

  1. (New Latin) America


First declension.

Case Singular
nominative America
genitive Americae
dative Americae
accusative Americam
ablative Americā
vocative America


  1. John R. Hebert, "The Map That Named America: Library Acquires 1507 Waldseemüller Map of the World" (), Information Bulletin, Library of Congress
  2. Toby Lester, "Putting America on the Map", Smithsonian, 40:9 (December 2009)



Borrowed from Latin America.


  • IPA(key): [aˈme.ri.ka]

Proper noun

America f (plural Americi)

  1. America


Derived terms

Related terms