Reading an article on Der Postillion, I came across this sentence:

Jetzt will das US-amerikanische Unternehmen einen neuen Markt erobern: Ab sofort wird das Sortiment um eine Kollektion neuartiger Plastik-Särge und -Urnen erweitert.

Why is there the need for the compound adjective US-amerikanisch? I would not have added the "US-" to further explain the adjective.

  • 2
    I'd say that's the only possible adjective. Amerikanisch sounds like slang.
    – c.p.
    Commented Feb 4, 2015 at 22:46
  • 1
    Slang? I certainly wouldn't go that far.
    – Ingmar
    Commented Feb 5, 2015 at 0:45
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    To some extent, it's political correctness. In ordinary speech, including business letters, you'd often just find "Jetzt will das amerikanische Unternehmen..." but when you are writing for wide population, you'd want to respect the other countries in North and South America. Commented Jun 10, 2015 at 16:03

3 Answers 3


US-amerikanische refers to the USA specifically, and amerikanische to South- and North-America. Even though most people will guess you are talking about the USA when you say amerikanische, it is clearer to narrow it down with US-amerikanische.


Unlike Americans (i.e. citizens of the US) most Europeans generally use "America" to refer to the whole continent. This is not always strictly used, but if you want to remove any ambiguity you'll use "US-amerikanisch" in reference to the USA when you'd say "American" in English.


Actually I can't recognize a compound. This is a cleanly formed adjective of the noun USA, expanding the trailing "A" of the abbreviation for better pronunciation and word-forming. It also makes perfect sense to refer to the country of a company instead of to the continent only.

  • The acronym expansion explanation is an interesting (and possible!) hypothesis. I'm not sure it is "the right one" in this case, though; this could indeed be a compound of "US" and "amerikanisch" - there are other compound adjectives for place names where the first part is actually unambiguous, but does not lend itself to forming an adjective (think "Hongkong-chinesisch"). Commented Jun 22, 2023 at 12:44

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