Yankee Doodle is a well-known American song, the early versions of which date to before the Seven Years' War and the American Revolution. It is often sung patriotically in the United States today and is the state anthem of Connecticut. The melody is thought to be much older than both the lyrics and the subject, going back to folk songs of Medieval Europe.
The earliest words of "Yankee Doodle" came from a Middle Dutch harvest song which is thought to have followed the same tune, possibly dating back as far as 15th-century Holland. It contained mostly nonsensical words in English and Dutch: "Yanker, didel, doodle down, Diddle, dudel, lanther, Yanke viver, voover vown, Botermilk und tanther." Farm laborers in Holland were paid "as much buttermilk (Botermilk) as they could drink, and a tenth (tanther) of the grain".
The term Doodle first appeared in English in the early seventeenth century and is thought to be derived from the Low German dudel, meaning "playing music badly", or Dödel, meaning "fool" or "simpleton". The Macaroni wig was an extreme fashion in the 1770s and became slang for being a fop. Dandies were men who placed particular importance upon physical appearance, refined language, and leisure hobbies. A self-made dandy was a British middle-class man who impersonated an aristocratic lifestyle. They notably wore silk strip cloth, stuck feathers in their hats, and carried two pocket watches with chains—"one to tell what time it was and the other to tell what time it was not".