...but, people the other two North American countries are Canadians (from Canada) and Mexicans (from Mexico)? (The people I've met who are most incensed by this have pretty much always been Canadian, by the way.) Doesn't it seem like we should all have the same claim to the name "American," since we're all from North America, while people from the US should more properly be called something else, when referring only to people from that country? "Statesmen" or "Statesians" or some such? Here's my theory: It all stems from shortening the full name of the countries under discussion. Hence... People from Canada are Canadian People from the Estados Unidos de Mexico (the United States of Mexico - and yes, that's the country's full name) are Mexicans And, people from the United States of America are Americans This is my theory. It boils down to shortening the long name of each country in the most intuitive manner possible. I don't believe I've seen it explained quite that way or that simply anywhere else. What do you think? Does the idea hold water?