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Answered 2011-09-13 23:32:30

The song "Yankee Doodle" from the time of the American Revolutionary War talks of a man who 'stuck a feather in his hat and called it Macaroni,' the joke being that the Yankees (Americans) were naive enough to believe that a feather in the hat was a sufficient mark of a Macaroni. Whether or not these were alternative lyrics sung in the British army, they were enthusiastically taken up by the Yankees themselves.

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The above is a good answer. The British soldiers during the Revolutionary period were making fun of the Yankees because we (the Yankees) were trying to appear cultured and fashionable. In our own way we were, I guess, in an evolving kind of way. We modeled ourselves as best we could, after people who had spent years living in Europe. Of course, we didn't get it quite right, and probably looked a little foolish, or showy. Not to be indelicate, but we may have similar views of developing countries, when we see images of people taking on (really as a sign of admiration) what they think of as 'American' styles.

Hence the feather. Macaroni was a British slang term for fashionable fellow. This just now came to me: Wouldn't it have been funny if the lyrics had been "Yankee Noodle went to town..."

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