A bastardized abbreviation of the word "yankee", it originally denoted a person of New England heritage. It then was used by people from the southern United States to refer to people from the northern U.S. in general. Today, this abbreviated slang term is used mostly by people from foreign anglophone countries to refer to Americans in general, even though it is a term which ONLY defines somebody from New England (and is a phrase that most true yankees take pride in), but most Europeans are probably too ignorant, jealous, and stupid to care anyway.
Most rational people would tell them to get a reality check, but I, personally speaking of course, would tell them to get a bar of soap first, because lack of hygiene seems to be more of a pressing issue with these people than lack of intelligence (though it's a pretty close call).
Hey, look at that guy! He's cheerful, smells like he has taken a shower within the past month, and is wearing a suit that looks like it's worth more than three dollars... HE MUST BE AN AMERICAN! That bloody yank!
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