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If the United States is translated to Vereinigte Staaten then how do you call people from there?

I have always heard Amerikaner but that one refers to the whole continent.

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Related question – guidot 9 hours ago
And if not? Suspicious dependency injection. ;) – user unknown 9 hours ago

4 Answers 4


In Germany it is exactly the same as in the United States:

We are Americans Obama's weekly address Jan 15 2011

literally translates to

Wir sind Amerikaner (this obviously is not true then)

Only if we need to further specify where a person lives we could also say:

Nordamerikaner, US-Amerikaner - North American
Südamerikaner - South American
Texaner - Texan
Südstaatler - Southerner
Kanadier - Canadian
Mexikaner - Mexican
[...] endless list


A short form frequently used in colloquial German is


that has the connotation of a friend from French "ami".


Note that in Germany we do not use "U.S." for the United States (it is "USA"). Still we do say

"US-Bürger" for a U.S. citizen

+1 for Ami. In colloquial use, one often hears die Amis - but for me it doesn't have the connotation your describing. – Hendrik Vogt Jan 25 '12 at 9:59
Ami has a neutral connotation, leaning slightly to the negative, since it is often used in generalizations Die Amis lieben Fast Food. To my knowledge it doesn't have anything to do with the French "ami". – Twilite Jan 25 '12 at 11:56
In the former Federal Republic of Germany Ami was used in context with the occupying forces and the connotation was mostly neutral, but partly ambiguous. Today there is a tendency not use Ami to denote individual persons, but to use it when expressing prejudices. – bernd_k Jan 25 '12 at 17:49
The friend connotation for Ami is new to me. On the other hand, the word does not have a slightly negative connotation for me, it's fine. – OregonGhost Jan 27 '12 at 18:27
We also sometimes use "GI" as term for american soldiers, at least my mother does. I don't know if we differentiate between army, navy and air force when using this abbreviation. Ami is also a short form of a first name .. was it Michael? – hmundt Feb 21 '12 at 3:06

It depends on the context. Normally an Amerikaner will be identified as someone from US.

If you have a situation where you want to make it absolutly clear, you can say US-Amerikaner.

In a bakery, an Amerikaner can be eaten ;)

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US(A)-Bürger and (most important ;p) Ami – Em1 Jan 24 '12 at 20:58

In Germany we use Amerika as a synonym to the country U.S.A, allthough using it at the same time for referring to the continent, but usually adding Nord- or Süd-.

Thus, the inhabitants of the country are called Amerikaner. When talking about people from other countries on the continent, we are either using their country’s name, like Kanadier or Mexikaner, or adding a region information, like Südamerikaner or Lateinamerikaner.

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"allthough using it at the same time for referring to the continent, but usually adding Nord- or Süd-." - well, that depends. I think it is also not unusual to use just "Amerika" to refer to the continent(s), but it should be noted here that the plural "die Amerikas" is not used in German. This is in contrast to English, where North America + South America = the Americas is assumed. – O. R. Mapper 5 hours ago

Yes we would say US-Bürger (US-citizen) or US-Amerikaner (US-American), as said above.

But often we would just use Ami or Amis (Plural).

Just to clarify, even though it is spelled like the French ami there is no connection. "Ami" is informal and has, contrary to what was says above, no positive connotations. Few would honestly say "Sche%ß US-Bürger" (fu%king US- Citizen) , most likely they would say "Sche%ß Ami" (Fu%king Ami). "Ami" could be called the less offensive German version of the American offensive slang for Japanese --> "Jap".

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Sorry, but with people I talk to a negative usage of Ami is definitely not what I see. Of course there is no etymological connection to the French ami but the connotation (which is something entirely different) used to be there at the times the term arose in the German language. – Takkat 9 hours ago
While terms such as Japse or Itaker definitely carry a derogative connotation in the word itself, this is not the case for Ami. To make it derogatory, it needs a derogative modifier. Scheißami works just like Scheißjapse does, however the latter carries a double insult while to former does not. – Jan 7 hours ago

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