Why does Jamie call Claire Sassenach in Outlander?

Photo credit: Outlander/Starz Image acquired via Starz Media Room
Photo credit: Outlander/Starz Image acquired via Starz Media Room /

We all know what Sassenach means and the original reason why people called her that. However, why does Jamie use it as a term of endearment in Outlander?

Outlander fans will all know the term “Sassenach.” Jamie uses it over and over again as a term of endearment for his wife, Claire. However, we all know the term doesn’t have kind connotations. Used by other Highlanders as a derogatory term against Claire, it’s a wonder why Jamie calls her it out of kindness.

Diana Gabaldon explained to Town & Country that Jamie knows that Claire being an “Outlander” is a good thing. It’s a reason he is attracted to her and he likes to remind her of that. In Jamie’s head, Claire being an Englishwoman is a positive thing. He has one of the English’s own.

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To many others, Claire being English is something to sneer at. She’s viewed as a spy or an enemy of the Highlanders simply because of her accent and where she grew up. Claire hasn’t even spent all her life in England, but that doesn’t matter, because her accent makes it clear she was born an Englishwoman.

While others used the term “Sassenach” in a negative way, we’ve always known Jamie would use it endearingly. He would remind her that she wasn’t where she came from (well, Claire knew that considering she was 200 years in the past!) but it was also something that he loved about Claire.

Of course, once he knew she was a time traveler, the term had another layer of meaning. Claire was out of her time, a Sassenach from the present day. Her knowledge of the future was powerful and helped Jamie learn more about life and events, making him a better man. That term “Sassenach” connected to that.

At least, that last part is my opinion.

Next. 25 best Claire and Jamie moments from Outlander Seasons 1-3. dark

Why have you always thought Jamie called Claire “Sassenach?” Do you love learning more from Diana Gabaldon? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Outlander airs Sundays at 8/7c on STARZ.