The Demonyms of the United Kingdom

By Deane Barker tags: trivia

I kept hearing about Susan Boyle being “Scottish.” Then I was reading the Wikipedia page on Bonnie Tyler and she was described as “Welsh.” I was confused. Weren’t these people British?

I consulted my buddy Chris for assistance.

Britain comprises three major geopolitical areas: England, Wales, and Scotland. So, you can be English, Welsh, or Scottish…and still be British.

My friend Chris is from England, so he’s English. He’s also British. But he’s not Scottish. And calling Susan Boyle “English” (or “Welsh”) would be all sorts of wrong.

So, to recap:

  • British

    • English

    • Scottish

    • Welsh

It gets a little more confusing when you toss Northern Ireland into the mix. They are Irish, of course, but not British. Northern Ireland and Britain together form the United Kingdom. Wikipedia claims that the United Kingdom and Britain are the same thing, and that someone in Northern Ireland can be called “British.” Chris disagrees.

Incidentally, this concept of naming someone after their country (an “American,” a “New Zealander,” etc.) is called a demonym.

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