During the War of Independence, this song was sung with derision by the British troops about the American soldiers, however, after the battle of Bunker Hill, the Americans took it up as a war cry.
The phrase Yankee Doodle Dandy was supposedly coined by Dr. Richard Shuckburgh, an English surgeon and wit in 1775. He used it to describe the Colonial troops at the time.
No one knows for sure where the word Yankee came from. The most likely explanation was told by an officer in General Burgoyne’s army who wrote,
“It is derived from a Cherokee word, ‘eankke,’ which signifies coward and slave. This epithet, ‘Yankee,’ was bestowed upon the residents of New England by Virginians for not assisting them with the war with the Cherokees.”
The ‘macaroni’ does not refer to pasta but a fancy item, worn by a ‘fop’ or ‘dandy.’
Doodle was a word to describe a fool or slow-witted person.
Yankee Doodle Lyrics
Yankee Doodle went to town,
Riding on a pony;
He stuck a feather in his cap
And called it macaroni.