"New York is in the US."


March 4, 2018

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美国 is used here to mean the United States, but in other lessons it is used to refer to the American continent, including Canada and South and Central America. Is there a precise definition, or does it depend on context?


For the continent(s), use 美洲. That last character 洲 means continent and is at the end of all of them. For just North America it's 北美洲 and similar for South (or Central).

国 means country, so 美国 is specifically the United States.


Fun tips: America was transliterated 亜米利加 first in Japanese. Chinese did alike but they spelled 亜美利加 - 美 means beauty (originally "as splendid as large大 sheep羊 for sacrifice). Literally "美国" means "beautiful country".

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