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I have checked on the NOAD, but I didn't find the origin of Americana; it's reported that it means things associated with the culture and history of America, especially the United States, but not the origin of the word.

I have a hypothesis, but it doesn't explain why Americana is a plural noun. Does anybody know the origin of the word?

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Americana is the feminine form of Americano. It sounds to be an Italian form of the word America which is a name for inhabitant or the native of the land. In Italian the plural form is Americane. In Spanish the plural form is Americanas. –  Manoochehr Feb 4 '11 at 9:37
In Italian, americana is both adjective and noun; it is not the plural form, differently from Americana. –  kiamlaluno Feb 4 '11 at 9:55
@Manoochehr: No, Americana is not the feminine form of Americano (in English). "Americana" does not refer to a female native of America in English. –  ShreevatsaR Feb 4 '11 at 11:32
I think it's more possibly from Spanish, which anyway is the same word and meaning than in Italian, meaning American. –  Petruza Feb 4 '11 at 13:38
@Manoochehr: Yes, that's what I said "in English" (twice). The page you linked to gives your derivation for Italian and Spanish, but those are irrelevant for English. For the English meaning see FX_'s answer or en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Americana –  ShreevatsaR Feb 4 '11 at 16:54

1 Answer 1

up vote 5 down vote accepted

It comes from America and the suffix -ana, of which the NOAD says:

(forming plural nouns) denoting things associated with a person, place, or field of interest: Americana | Victoriana.

Origin: from the neuter plural of the Latin adjectival ending -anus

I don't have any examples in mind other than those above: Americana and Victoriana.

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There are plenty of other examples, though they're mostly fairly obscure - fittingly, "arcana" (items of obscure knowledge), but also: "Africana"; "Arthuriana" (items related to King Arthur); "Australiana" - and that's just for the letter A :-) –  psmears Feb 4 '11 at 10:30

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