Free Metaphor: “Lower North American”

0. CONCISION AND PRECISION ARE ESSENTIAL components of the modern metaphor. What your end-user metaphorager is looking for is light in the mouth and easy on the fingers, especially when describing social groups — you want something tight enough to express the point but loose enough to avoid looking like a stereotyping (and -typical) fool.

1. The challenge is greater when describing cultures within a geographical area. Specifically, what to conversationally call those of us residing between Mexico and Canada? “Americans” leaves out residents of those countries, as well as everyone south until the Patagonians (who, despite their patient excellence for crafting outdoor gear, are sticklers for self-affiliative accuracy). Likewise “USAtians,” which makes us sound like some exotic water dog; “USAers,” which is either a cheerleading squad or a reality-show; “Yankees,” which I object to as a diehard Red Sox fan; and “United States citizens,” whose formal appeal is outweighed by its clunkiness.

2. Therefore, I suggest “Lower North American.” It’s got a nice cadence (“LOWuh NORthuh MEruh Can”), easy informality and even compresses to a txtable “LNA” (which so far as I can see will only confuse us with amplifiers, shy nucleotides and members of the new Let’s Not Ask public-ignorance campaign).

So, friends, next time you’re stuck for a self-descriptive metaphor for hepcats, expats and diplomats, reach for smooth, satisfying Lower North America. Remember: Lower North America. It’s where we are now.

(Link here:

9 comments for “Free Metaphor: “Lower North American”

  1. 2010.07.26 at 0805

    Since the U.S. is between Canada and Mexico, I was going to suggest that we be called “Central Americans,” but I guess that would be confusing. Of course, given our obesity rates, we could go with a descriptive and call our country “Fat America.” Sadly, the rest of the world would know exactly which America that is.

  2. 2010.07.26 at 0805

    PS – And not to lob gravelly projectiles from my pane-constructed dwelling: I include myself and my own need to lose the 20 I gained last year.

    • 2010.07.26 at 0808

      On you it looks good. (Full disclosure: I was sort of also considering “Middle North Americans;” you may have picked up on that.)

  3. 2010.07.26 at 1058

    I might throw in “Ignorant Americans”, but that’s too close to the truth….

    • 2010.07.26 at 1101

      @CT: Well, there’s the scansion issue again. 😉 Plus, that’s not exactly how I’d refer to myself — despite any possible verisimilitude thereof.

  4. 2010.07.26 at 1058

    To Alaskans, residents of the other 49 states might be called Outer Americans. Every time a resident leaves the state, they say they’re going “out.”

  5. Kathryn Hildebrandt
    2019.07.15 at 1602

    How about Lesser North Americans? Any stereotyping is veiled in double innuendo, lol…

    Anyway, thank you for addressing this issue! I struggle with it all the time. Most recently, I was trying to make a poster for a #CloseTheCamps demonstration. Being overly verbose in nature, partly because of my desire to be rigorous and precise in use of language, getting my message across in a slogan brief enough to be read and understood by citizens in passing cars is not one of my strengths.

    What I came up with: U.S. PREYING ON KIDS FOR $$$? SERIOUSLY? SHAME ON U.S. !!! #CloseTheCamps

    Still pretty long, but it seemed to be well-received. I was kinda proud of that.

    • 2019.07.15 at 2118

      I can see why it’s so well-received — it’s brilliant. Even works if you remove the abbreviation marks…

      • Kathryn Hildebrandt
        2019.07.16 at 0131

        Thank you. Maybe even works better without.

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