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The following is the entry from the first volume of the Fascicles of the Oxford English Dictionary which is copyright free:

1888, A new English dictionary on historical principles : founded mainly on the materials collected by the Philological Society[1], Oxford, Clarendon press, page 279:


American a. and sb.

A. adj.

  1. Belonging to the continent of America.
    1598 SYLVESTER Du Bartas i. iii. (1641) 25/1 Under the Empire of the Ocean, Atlantike, Indian, and American.
    1633 HERBERT Temple, Ch. Mil. 235 Religion stands on tiptoe in our land, Readie to pass to the American strand.
    1773 BARRINGTON in Phil. Trans. LXIII.285,I have happened.. to hear the American mocking-bird.
    1839 Penny Cycl. XIII. 320 The singular congruity in structure between all the American languages, from the northern to the southern extremity of the continent.
  2. a. Belonging to the British colonies in North America (obs.). b. Belonging to the United States.
    1647 WARD Simple Cob. 24 Divers make it an Article of our American Creed.
    1775 JOHNSON (title) Taxation no Tyranny, an Answer to the Resolutions and Address of the American Congress.
    1883 Daily News 14 May 5/8 The plain evening dress which bespeaks the American Minister everywhere.

B. sb.

  1. An aborigine of the American continent; now called an 'American Indian.'
    1578 G. BEST Frobishers Voy. (1867) 284 The Americans .. which dwell under the equinoctiall line.
    1631 MASSINGER City Madam III. iii, Worse Than ignorant Americans.
    1711 AOUISON Spect. No. 56 7 I The Americans believe that all creatures have souls.
    1777 ROBERTSON Amer. II. 417 Amazing accounts are given of the persevering speed of the Americans.
  2. A native of America of European descent; esp. a citizen of the United States.
    1765 GALE in Phil. Trans. LV. 198 Paying quit-rents to monopolizers of large tracts of land, is not well relished by Americans.
    1775 JOHNSON Tax. no Tyr. 13 That the Americans are able to bear taxation is indubitable.
    1809 KENDALL Trav. II. Iviii. 286 The Americans, that is the subjects of the United States.
    1882 HOWKLLS in Cent. Mag. Nov. 26 We Americans are terribly in earnest about making ourselves.
  3. A ship belonging to America.
    1817 SOUTHEY in Q. Rev. XVII. 2 He had sailed in an American to Manilla.