Origin of AmerasianAmer(ican) + Asian
- both American and Asian: an Amerasian child
- of or for Amerasians
Origin of AmerasianAmer(ican) Asian
Usage Note: Amerasian is not a synonym for either Asian American or Eurasian. The word dates to the early 1950s and has been used primarily with reference to children fathered in Asia by American servicemen. Since American servicemen are of varying backgrounds, there is no particular racial or ethnic connotation to Amerasian apart from the fact that one parent, generally the mother, is an ethnic Asian. In contrast, Asian American is typically used of a person whose parents are both ethnic Asians but who by birth or naturalization is an American citizen, while Eurasian designates a person of mixed Asian and European, or white, parentage. Though many Amerasians are, ethnically speaking, also Eurasians, in practice the two terms do not overlap very much, with Amerasian continuing to be restricted in usage to the historical context of the American military presence in East and Southeast Asia.
Amerasian is not synonymous with Asian American (an American of Asian heritage). The term is most closely associated the Korean and Vietnam Wars, during which many children were fathered in Asian countries by American servicemen. . Chambers Dictionary explicitly restricts the word to "fathered by an American serviceman in Vietnam or Korea" (1998 ed. p.47).