Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Note: This question is only apparently a dupe of preceding: "Is Yankee derogatory?".

I have heard of the term "Brave" often referring to people in the Southern U.S. by Northeners.

Is it true? If so, is this term considered derogatory or offensive and should it be avoided in formal settings?

ADDENDUM: as choster say in his/her comment, probably I am confusing the terms with the names of two major league baseball teams which were rivals in the 1990s: the New York Yankees and the Atlanta Braves (cities which are associated with the North and the South).

Probabily this rivalry might be reverberated in Europe to the point of distorting the really meaning of the terms.

share|improve this question

closed as off topic by Mitch, Monica Cellio, FumbleFingers, jwpat7, simchona Apr 17 '12 at 3:04

Questions on English Language & Usage Stack Exchange are expected to relate to English language and usage within the scope defined by the community. Consider editing the question or leaving comments for improvement if you believe the question can be reworded to fit within the scope. Read more about reopening questions here.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

2  
This is not really a question about language usage but about culture. Do Northeners often refer to Southeners as brave? Not in my experience and I doubt it (at least no one is special in that regard nowadays; one might have heard that in the 19th c in deference to the CSA attempting to wage war with comparatively fewer resources than its adversary). Are they actually brave? Of course (as much as anybody else). Is 'brave' a derogatory term? Not at all (it is quite the opposite, very much the opposite of derogatory). It may be taken as condescending though. –  Mitch Apr 16 '12 at 20:57
    
Perhaps you are confusing the terms with the names of two major league baseball teams which were rivals in the 1990s: the New York Yankees and the Atlanta Braves (cities which are associated with the North and the South). –  choster Apr 16 '12 at 21:05
    
@choster - It may be! –  Elberich Schneider Apr 16 '12 at 21:08
    
@choster There was a movie years ago where a man from the 1800s invents a time machine and travels to the late 20th century. He sees a newspaper with the headline, "Yankees defeat Braves", and he says, "Wow, the Indian wars still aren't over?" –  Jay Apr 16 '12 at 21:20
1  
@Mitch Late BTW: Whether or not Northerners thought of Southeners as brave, they didn't use it as a nickname. That is, they may have used it as an adjective -- "Those Confederates sure are brave" -- but that's not the same as using it as a noun -- "The Brave's capital is in Richmond". –  Jay Apr 23 '12 at 15:09
show 2 more comments

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

As JLG says, I have never heard "Braves" used as a term for people from the Southern US. Braves IS a word used for American Indian soldiers. Perhaps you heard references to Yankees and Braves talking about conflict between the United States and the Indians, and you thought they were talking about North versus South. You can certainly find references in writing from the 1800s that says things like, "100 Yankee cavalry fought 200 Cherokee braves".

During the Civil War, northerners were called Yankees and southerners were called "confederates", "rebels", or "rebs" for short. Outside the context of the Civil War, I can't think of any term used for southerners other than "Southerners".

The northeners didn't like the southeners -- and there's still some bad feelings to this day -- but I don't think "Yankee", "Confederate", or "Rebel" would be considered derogatory beyond the sense in which any term for a group you don't like is derogatory.

Note that outside the Civil War, "Yankee" is a slang term for any United States citizen, north or south, going back to at least Revolutionary War times. ("Yankee Doodle" is a Revolutiony War era song, for example.) Southerners do still sometimes refer to northerners as Yankees, but I think this is a dying usage.

share|improve this answer
add comment

I have never heard that term used for southerners. (I'm in the U.S.)

If anything, southerners might be referred to as rebels (as they were called in the Civil War). That would be the opposite of Yankees or Yanks, which is what the northerners were called by the rebels in the Civil War.

share|improve this answer
3  
Additionally, "Braves" probably referred to the warriors of local First Nations tribes (although I'm not sure if that term would apply to all tribes). –  FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Apr 16 '12 at 20:43
add comment

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.