Word History

Why Did Yankee Doodle Call a Feather 'Macaroni'?

What's with his feathered cap?


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Featuring: Serenity Carr
Editor Serenity Carr breaks down the sartorial origins of the famous song "Yankee Doodle" and why it references macaroni.

Transcript:


Have you ever wondered why in the old Yankee Doodle song he puts a feather in his cap and calls it 'macaroni'? In the 1760s, a group of young well-traveled English men who prided themselves in their appearance, sense of style, and manners founded a club in London. At the time, macaroni was a new and exotic food in England and so the young men named their club the Macaroni Club to demonstrate how stylish its members were. The members themselves were called macaronis. And eventually the word macaroni came to mean the same thing as dandy, or "a man who gives exaggerated attention to personal appearance." Like one who wears feathered caps.

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