DEFINITION of 'Uncle Sam'

A nickname dating back to 1812 used to refer to the U.S. government. The term is said to come from "Uncle Sam" Wilson, who provided barrels of beef to the U.S. Army during the War of 1812. The barrels were stamped "U.S." to indicate that they were government property, but they came to be associated with Wilson's nickname, and eventually "Uncle Sam" became a nickname for the U.S. government.

BREAKING DOWN 'Uncle Sam'

The most popular visual representation of Uncle Sam is a cartoon image drawn by James Montgomery Flagg in 1916 of a white-haired, bearded, Caucasian male dressed in a patriotic top hat and jacket for a U.S. Army recruitment poster with the words "I Want You." The term is commonly used by financial writers, often in conjunction with discussions of income taxes.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Japan Inc.

    A nickname for the corporate world of Japan that came about during ...
  2. Old Lady

    An eighteenth century nickname for the Bank of England. The full ...
  3. Donee Beneficiary

    A person who is considered a non-party in a contract but still ...
  4. Price Per Flowing Barrel

    A metric used to determine the value of a oil and gas company. ...
  5. Tiger Economy

    A nickname given to the economies of Southeast Asia. Some of ...
  6. Two Name Paper

    A nickname assigned to trade paper. Both Trade Acceptances and ...
Related Articles
  1. Trading

    How Does a Collar Work?

    Collar refers to a protective options strategy that investors use after a stock has experienced substantial gains.
  2. Insights

    Business Model Analysis: Costco Vs. Sam's Club (WMT, TGT)

    Costco and Sam’s Club have very similar business models, but which one is faring better?
  3. Investing

    Lululemon's Founder Chastises Board, CEO

    Lululemon (NASDAQ: LULU) founder Chip Wilson has created a website challenging the company's current board and CEO to produce better results. He specifically called out the company's performance ...
  4. Taxes

    Uncle Sam's Surprise: Unexpected Sources Of Taxable Income

    When you get an unexpected check, don't be surprised when the tax man shows up to collect his share.
  5. Insights

    Sam Walton Biography

    Sam Walton was an American retail tycoon and entrepreneur who founded Walmart and Sam's Club big-box discount stores that have changed the way Americans buy goods, as well as the American business ...
  6. Investing

    Explaining Interest Rate Risk

    Interest rate risk is the risk that investments already held will lose market value if new investments with higher interest rates enter the market.
  7. Small Business

    What Can an Investor Learn from DuckTales?

    "DuckTales" told the story of Scrooge McDuck. Are there any lessons for an adult investor you might have missed as a child?
  8. Financial Advisor

    Meet The Advisors To The Richest People In The U.S

    Celebirty financial advisors to the rich can offer important money lessons anyone can learn — as well as a whole host of mistakes to avoid.
  9. Managing Wealth

    You'd Be Rich If You Were Taxed Like a Multinational

    Oh, the money you'd save. Something to think about as you fill out your own taxes, which aren't getting a tax holiday from Uncle Sam anytime soon....
RELATED FAQS
  1. Can you use your Walmart credit card at Sam's Club?

    Learn how you can use a Walmart credit card at Sam's Club. Sam's Club also takes a variety of other payments and has many ... Read Answer >>
  2. Sam and Betty are a married couple with two children ...

    The correct answer is B) Many questions of this nature are open to interpretation, but in this case, the couple appears to ... Read Answer >>
  3. My uncle died recently. He designated my mother and father as his beneficiaries in ...

    It depends. If the retirement plan is a qualified plan, then the plan administrator would refer to the plan document to determine ... Read Answer >>
  4. What are some examples of "pork barrel politics" in the United States?

    Learn the meaning of the term "pork barrel politics" and explore examples of the practice throughout American politics since ... Read Answer >>
  5. Who or what are the turtles?

    The "turtles" was a nickname given to a group of traders who were a part of an experiment run by two famous commodity traders. ... Read Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Federal Direct Loan Program

    A program that provides low-interest loans to postsecondary students and their parents. The William D. Ford Federal Direct ...
  2. Cash Flow

    The net amount of cash and cash-equivalents moving into and out of a business. Positive cash flow indicates that a company's ...
  3. PLUS Loan

    A low-cost student loan offered to parents of students currently enrolled in post-secondary education. With a PLUS Loan, ...
  4. Graduate Record Examination - GRE

    A standardized exam used to measure one's aptitude for abstract thinking in the areas of analytical writing, mathematics ...
  5. Graduate Management Admission Test - GMAT

    A standardized test intended to measure a test taker's aptitude in mathematics and the English language. The GMAT is most ...
  6. Magna Cum Laude

    An academic level of distinction used by educational institutions to signify an academic degree which was received "with ...
Trading Center