Uncle Sam

noun Un·cle Sam \ ˌəŋ-kəl-ˈsam \
Updated on: 13 Oct 2017

Definition of Uncle Sam

1 :the U.S. government
2 :the American nation or people

Examples of uncle sam in a Sentence

  1. Uncle Sam wants you to join the Army!

Origin and Etymology of uncle sam

expansion of U.S., abbreviation of United States


Financial Definition of UNCLE SAM

Uncle Sam

What It Is

Uncle Sam is a fictional character who represents the United States government. His predecessor was a character named Brother Jonathan.

How It Works

Uncle Sam first appeared in the 1820s. Though many artists drew the character in a variety of political cartoons during that time, the artist Thomas Nast is most commonly credited for creating the image most familiar to us today. Nast's first illustration of Uncle Sam was published in the November 20, 1869, edition of Harper's Weekly. Artist James Montgomery Flagg also created a famous image of Uncle Sam wearing a top hat and blue jacket and pointing a finger at the viewer in the famous "I Want YOU for U.S. Army" poster.

The name "Uncle Sam" is associated with Samuel Wilson, a meat packer from Troy, New York. Wilson supplied beef to the U.S. Army during the War of 1812 and he stamped the barrels with "U.S." Apparently, soliders began joking that initials meant that the food was from "Uncle Sam." The media published this, which helped the term become the official nickname for the U.S. government.

Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Why It Matters

Uncle Sam is not just a symbol of the U.S. government. He is also a patriotic symbol of the unity and strength of the United States.


UNCLE SAM Defined for English Language Learners

Uncle Sam

noun

Definition of Uncle Sam for English Language Learners

  • : the American government, nation, or people pictured or thought of as a person



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