Uncle Sam

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From uncle +‎ Sam (diminutive of the male name Samuel), probably based on the initialism U.S. of the United States. While folk etymology suggests that the term was named after Samuel Wilson (1766–1854), a meat packer from Troy, New York, who supplied the United States Army with canned meat during the War of 1812 between the United States and the United Kingdom, the Oxford English Dictionary notes there is no evidence that this is the case.[1]


Proper noun[edit]

Uncle Sam

  1. (colloquial, originally US) A personification of the United States federal government or (rare) citizens. [from early 19th c.]
    Uncle Sam needs brave men and women to enlist in the Army.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Uncle Sam, n.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, September 2019; “Uncle Sam, proper n.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–present.

Further reading[edit]