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Old 01-18-2020, 12:01 AM
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Overall term to refer to people from the British Isles?


Is there a simple term that refers to all residents of the (2 large and many small) islands, regardless of political/national identities (British, Irish, English/Welsh/Scottish, etc?)
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Old 01-18-2020, 12:08 AM
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British
A opposed to English, Scottish, Irish or Welsh.
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Old 01-18-2020, 12:25 AM
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British
A opposed to English, Scottish, Irish or Welsh.
So people from the Republic of Ireland refer to themselves as "British"?

I didn't think that was the case...
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Old 01-18-2020, 12:53 AM
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I would go with British Islanders. It makes it clear you're talking about the geographic region rather than any particular ethnicity.
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Old 01-18-2020, 01:03 AM
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I would go with British Islanders. It makes it clear you're talking about the geographic region rather than any particular ethnicity.
That invention doesn't make anything clear - nobody would know what you were talking about.

I don't think there is any term in common use for people of both the U.K. and Ireland. "British" certainly refers to people of the U.K. only. The best you might do is to spell it out as "people of the British Isles", I suppose. But note also that use of the term "British Isles" to refer to the U.K. & Ireland is disfavored in Ireland.

Last edited by Riemann; 01-18-2020 at 01:06 AM.
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Old 01-18-2020, 01:04 AM
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I would go with British Islanders. It makes it clear you're talking about the geographic region rather than any particular ethnicity.
Although I see that might be a problem. Apparently the term British Islands has a different meaning than the British Isles.

The British Isles refers to the landmasses. But the British Islands is a term used in British law to refer to the portion of the British Isles that are part of the United Kingdom. So the Republic of Ireland is part of the British Isles but not the British Islands.

There is no specific demonym for a person who lives on an isle as opposed to an island. (Although searching for one led to the discovery that a person from the Isle of Wight is inexplicably called a Vectian and a person from the Isle of Jura is a Diurach.) So I'm stumped.
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Old 01-18-2020, 01:20 AM
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Atlantic Archipelagians.
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Old 01-18-2020, 01:23 AM
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The only thing I can think of is "British and Irish". "British Islanders" is not a term I've heard used and could be confusing as between people who live on any of the islands around us, and those who live on the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, which are locally self-governing and therefore there may (depending on context) be a legal distinction.
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Old 01-18-2020, 01:25 AM
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Atlantic Archipelagians.
Nice try, but there are plenty of other islands in other jurisdictions up, down and across the North and South Atlantic.
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Old 01-18-2020, 07:01 AM
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People from the Common Travel Area
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Old 01-18-2020, 07:51 AM
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Common Travel Area?
I guess CeTAceans would work, especially for people from Wales!
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Old 01-18-2020, 08:12 AM
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Referring to Irishmen as British wil, in many cases, lead to at minimum a verbal beatdown. I naively made the mistake many years ago with an Irish friend if mine and I'd never seen him so upset before or since.
There is no common single way to refer to everyone on the islands. You're best off finding out which country they're
from, England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, or Ireland and using their home nation.
Saying 'Britain and Ireland' is about as short as you can make it without causing Trouble.
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Old 01-18-2020, 09:14 AM
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There isn't such a term, at least not one that would be properly understood by everyone, and inventing one now also seems liable to misunderstanding.
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Old 01-18-2020, 09:23 AM
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Toffy-nosed gits?
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Old 01-18-2020, 10:56 AM
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There's a similar situation over here with North Americans. I mean, yeah, there's "North American", but I don't think it's normally taken to include the whole of the continent. For example, there have been dozens of stories lately about Prince Harry and Meghan 'splitting their time between England and North America,' but does any imagine that possibly they'll be setting up households in Mexico or Honduras?
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Old 01-18-2020, 04:58 PM
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'Anglo-Celtic' is a pretty common term in Australia, not for people 'from' the British Isles as in ever necessarily lived there themselves, but whose ancestry is (mainly) from there and who once represented a large majority of the population, a relatively slight majority now. As opposed to Australians who are immigrants or the descendants of immigrants from other parts of Europe or Asia, or indigenous people.
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Old 01-18-2020, 10:40 PM
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An Irish-American pal told me he didn't learn that "FuckingEnglish" wasn't two words until he was 12.
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Old 01-18-2020, 11:09 PM
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An Irish-American pal told me he didn't learn that "FuckingEnglish" wasn't two words until he was 12.
"I don't hate the English. They're just wankers. We, on the other hand, are colonised by wankers."
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Old 01-18-2020, 11:15 PM
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When I lived in Thailand, I knew some Aussies and Kiwis who had an overall term or two to refer to them. I don't think I'll repeat those here.
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Old 01-19-2020, 01:02 AM
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I didn't know "Pom" was so controversial
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Old 01-19-2020, 10:40 AM
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When I lived in Thailand, I knew some Aussies and Kiwis who had an overall term or two to refer to them. I don't think I'll repeat those here.
I'm guessing something to do with carnal relations with ovines.
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Old 01-19-2020, 10:57 AM
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I didn't know "Pom" was so controversial
This surprises me from someone from Australia. It's generally regarded as derogatory, although these days mostly used jocularly. In any case, it generally refers to English or other British people, and not to Irish.
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Old 01-19-2020, 11:20 AM
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I think that there is confusion here. British is a common descriptor for people from England, Scotland (including the Orkneys, Shetland and the other islands), Wales, The Isle of Man and Northern Ireland. Irish describes people from Eire which is a totally separate independent country.

Of course, the Island of Ireland is divided into Eire and Northern Ireland as anyone who has been following the Brexit shenanigans will know.

Last edited by bob++; 01-19-2020 at 11:23 AM.
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Old 01-19-2020, 11:20 AM
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This surprises me from someone from Australia. It's generally regarded as derogatory, although these days mostly used jocularly. In any case, it generally refers to English or other British people, and not to Irish.
Yeah AFAIK Pommy [Bastard, etc] is 90% an Aussie term for people from England (though as was said, not typically a serious insult nowadays) rather than including people from Scotland or Wales, and it 100% does not include people from Eire.

Again a common Australian term for Australians of ethnic heritage in either Britain or Ireland is 'Anglo-Celtic'.

But I don't think there is a single term anywhere that specifically refers to people who are current residents/citizens of either Eire or the UK: you just need to name both those countries if you're referring to both of their residents/citizens.
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Old 01-19-2020, 11:47 AM
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I think that there is confusion here. British is a common descriptor for people from England, Scotland (including the Orkneys, Shetland and the other islands), Wales, The Isle of Man and Northern Ireland. Irish describes people from Eire which is a totally separate independent country.

Of course, the Island of Ireland is divided into Eire and Northern Ireland as anyone who has been following the Brexit shenanigans will know.
There is however, ambiguity with respect to Northern Ireland. The people there are British, in the sense of being citizens of the UK, and also Irish, in the sense of being, well, Irish.
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Old 01-19-2020, 12:16 PM
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There is however, ambiguity with respect to Northern Ireland. The people there are British, in the sense of being citizens of the UK, and also Irish, in the sense of being, well, Irish.
There's also plenty of ambiguity within the UK generally. IME people from *England* are much likely to be insistent that foreigners refer to people from non-English parts of the UK as 'British' compared to the people themselves in those places. A lot or even most people in those other places will say they are Scottish, Irish, Welsh first. Without necessarily supporting removing their countries from the UK, but a large number want that also. Besides being an active debate in Scotland, recent polls in NI have had slight pluralities or majorities either way on continuing to be in the UK v unification with Eire. And as is well know that question in NI tends to fall along lines of religious background. Northern Irish of Catholic background IME are not likely to answer 'British' if you ask their nationality, more likely 'Irish'. They don't mistakenly believe they live in Eire or even necessarily want unification with Eire. They just interpret the question as 'what ethnic nation do you belong to?' not 'what country are you a citizen of currently?'. Of course similar ambiguity exists plenty of places in the world.
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Old 01-19-2020, 01:55 PM
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Referring to Irishmen as British wil, in many cases, lead to at minimum a verbal beatdown. ...
+1.

Try calling a Israeli Jew (unless you time travel to 1947) a Palestinian.
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Old 01-19-2020, 03:22 PM
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They don't mistakenly believe they live in Eire or even necessarily want unification with Eire. They just interpret the question as 'what ethnic nation do you belong to?' not 'what country are you a citizen of currently?'. Of course, similar ambiguity exists plenty of places in the world.
This is far from unique. A Mexican immigrant in Texas will have the same dilemma if asked their nationality. People move between countries and borders change, leaving ambiguities which can last for many generations.

Of course there is a strong minority in Northern Ireland that want to unify the island, that is one of the root causes of the "troubles". Borders are an artificial construct after all and frequently take little or no account of the feelings of the indigenous populations.

Try asking a local in Alsace what nationality they are.
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Old 01-19-2020, 03:51 PM
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This is far from unique. A Mexican immigrant in Texas will have the same dilemma if asked their nationality. People move between countries and borders change, leaving ambiguities which can last for many generations.

Of course there is a strong minority in Northern Ireland that want to unify the island, that is one of the root causes of the "troubles". Borders are an artificial construct after all and frequently take little or no account of the feelings of the indigenous populations.

Try asking a local in Alsace what nationality they are.
Well just as quote quoted I said that kind of ambiguity isn't unique to the UK. However the identification of an immigrant with their former country isn't really the same thing. In case of the UK you have countries, 'nations'...united in a kingdom, for centuries. But there's a general tendency in recent times for the original nations (Scotland, Ireland etc) to become once again stronger sources of identity. And also as I referred, look up recent results, some polls now in NI have a slight *majority* saying they want to unify with Eire, Brexit being a factor in that, not just the previous sectarian minority. Though other polls put it at still only plurality in favor of unification, or even plurality in favor of UK and anyway an actual referendum wouldn't necessarily come out like a poll. As in Scotland.

When I said similar situations elsewhere I was thinking of more actually similar ones like regional separatism in Spain, where similarly regions long ago unified/conquered under one 'nation', Spain', now once again tend to see themselves as eg. Catalonian rather than Spanish. Rather than just individual immigrants the world over who naturally have some sense of being more than one thing, at least for some time.
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Old 01-19-2020, 06:51 PM
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This surprises me from someone from Australia. It's generally regarded as derogatory, although these days mostly used jocularly. In any case, it generally refers to English or other British people, and not to Irish.
*Blinks*

You mean you think 'Pom' really WAS the word he was so assiduously avoiding?

On a board on which ratfucker, assgasket, mofo, crap turd are totally acceptable words to use in a post, I find this....odd. Even in its full form ("Whingeing Pommie Bastard") I'm sure Dopers aren't about to need the smelling salts.

Next up: I hear White Americans have occasionally been insulted with a word that sounds a little like 'honey' - but I'll avoid posting it here
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Old 01-19-2020, 07:44 PM
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There's also plenty of ambiguity within the UK generally. IME people from *England* are much likely to be insistent that foreigners refer to people from non-English parts of the UK as 'British' compared to the people themselves in those places. A lot or even most people in those other places will say they are Scottish, Irish, Welsh first. Without necessarily supporting removing their countries from the UK, but a large number want that also. Besides being an active debate in Scotland, recent polls in NI have had slight pluralities or majorities either way on continuing to be in the UK v unification with Eire. And as is well know that question in NI tends to fall along lines of religious background. Northern Irish of Catholic background IME are not likely to answer 'British' if you ask their nationality, more likely 'Irish'. They don't mistakenly believe they live in Eire or even necessarily want unification with Eire. They just interpret the question as 'what ethnic nation do you belong to?' not 'what country are you a citizen of currently?'. Of course similar ambiguity exists plenty of places in the world.
They may well be understanding the question as "what country are your a citizen of?", and answering it with"Irish". People born in Northern Ireland are generally entitled to both Irish citizenship and British citizenship, and may identify as Irish, or British, or both. The Good Friday Agreement between the UK and Ireland affirms their right to identify as they wish, and to have that identification accepted and respected.

To answer the OP, there is no word for "a denizen of either Great Britain or Ireland, but we are not specifying which". The concept does not have enough meaningful real-world applications to have made such a term necessary, so none has developed.

Last edited by UDS; 01-19-2020 at 07:44 PM.
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Old 01-19-2020, 08:55 PM
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*Blinks*

You mean you think 'Pom' really WAS the word he was so assiduously avoiding?
No, it was just the word you used. I didn't think it made a lot of sense even as a joke.

Quote:
On a board on which ratfucker, assgasket, mofo, crap turd are totally acceptable words to use in a post, I find this....odd. Even in its full form ("Whingeing Pommie Bastard") I'm sure Dopers aren't about to need the smelling salts.
I really don't know what you're on about, since I said the word was mostly used jocularly these days. And if you were to direct those other words at members of specific ethnic groups, they could be moderated.

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Next up: I hear White Americans have occasionally been insulted with a word that sounds a little like 'honey' - but I'll avoid posting it here
Probably a good idea, since it's totally irrelevant to the GQ question at hand.
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Old 01-19-2020, 11:06 PM
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A lot of Irish people would resent Ireland being considered part of the "British Isles", even though the usage is correct.
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Old 01-20-2020, 01:05 AM
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I believe I've heard people use the term "these islands" to try and avoid being contentious.
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Old 01-20-2020, 01:53 AM
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I believe I've heard people use the term "these islands" to try and avoid being contentious.
"These islands" or, simply, "Britain and Ireland".

There was a brief attempt in the 1980s to popularise the term "Islands of the North Atlantic", handily abbreviated to "IONA", to refer to Great Britain, Ireland and their various offshore islands but it never really caught on (not least because Great Britain is not actually in the North Atlantic).
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Old 01-20-2020, 02:42 AM
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So people from the Republic of Ireland refer to themselves as "British"?
No, and neither (as far as I can tell) does anyone else refer to them as British. The Oxford English Dictionary, which is usually pretty good at describing how people use terms, indicates that the word "British" includes Ireland only in the phrase "British Isles". By itself, as a demonym, it refers only to Great Britain, specifically excluding all of Ireland. (Though maybe this isn't quite correct, as I seem to recall hearing about Northern unionists who present themselves as both "Irish" and "British".)
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Old 01-20-2020, 02:43 AM
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I think that there is confusion here. British is a common descriptor for people from England, Scotland (including the Orkneys, Shetland and the other islands), Wales, The Isle of Man and Northern Ireland. Irish describes people from Eire which is a totally separate independent country.
The term "Irish" also describes people from Northern Ireland, which is generally recognized to be part of the UK.
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Old 01-20-2020, 03:04 AM
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There's also plenty of ambiguity within the UK generally. IME people from *England* are much likely to be insistent that foreigners refer to people from non-English parts of the UK as 'British' compared to the people themselves in those places.
Well I'm English and don't recognise this assertion in the slightest. I can't recall EVER insisting 'foreigners' call my Welsh wife British. (She, on the other hand, will happily refer to herself as either).

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Northern Irish of Catholic background IME are not likely to answer 'British' if you ask their nationality, more likely 'Irish'. They don't mistakenly believe they live in Eire or even necessarily want unification with Eire. They just interpret the question as 'what ethnic nation do you belong to?' not 'what country are you a citizen of currently?'. Of course similar ambiguity exists plenty of places in the world.
I know plenty of Protestant N. Irelanders who also call themselves 'Irish', as it's a matter of fact.

British is a purely political term, not even a terribly old one. We are all aware that we are both 'name a country', and British. It's entirely individual preference what we use, and making sweeping statements like' The English Do This' and 'The Scottish Do That' is a fool's game. Many of us aren't even that consistent about it, depending on where we are and who we're talking to.
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Old 01-20-2020, 03:09 AM
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No, and neither (as far as I can tell) does anyone else refer to them as British. The Oxford English Dictionary, which is usually pretty good at describing how people use terms, indicates that the word "British" includes Ireland only in the phrase "British Isles". By itself, as a demonym, it refers only to Great Britain, specifically excluding all of Ireland. (Though maybe this isn't quite correct, as I seem to recall hearing about Northern unionists who present themselves as both "Irish" and "British".)
'British' is used to refer to all of the United Kingdom, even if it isn't literally correct. Hence 'British Government', 'British Prime Minister' etc. Basically because we don't have a better term (UKian?)

Northern Irish residents are entirely at liberty to call themselves either 'Irish', 'British' and both, depending on their personal preference and confirmed by the Good Friday Agreement.

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Old 01-20-2020, 07:55 AM
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Of course, the Island of Ireland is divided into Eire and Northern Ireland as anyone who has been following the Brexit shenanigans will know.
This usage is completely wrong, and I believe many Irish people would find it problematic to say the least.

When you are speaking English, the official name of the nation state whose capital is Dublin is "Ireland". If you need to clarify, you can say "Republic of Ireland", but that is not the official name.

"Éire" is just the Irish Gaelic word for "Ireland", in any context. Using it when you're speaking English doesn't make any more sense than it would if you referred to Germany as "Deutschland" in a conversation in English. The word appears on Irish stamps because they are written in Irish.
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Old 01-20-2020, 11:37 AM
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Toffy-nosed gits?
The less attractive ones I encounter are classified as BritSnots.
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Old 01-20-2020, 11:46 AM
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The people of Northern Ireland disagree among themselves whether they are British or Irish.

The people of the Republic of Ireland seem to have no interest in a demonym that would group them with the people of Great Britain.
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Old 01-20-2020, 12:38 PM
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The people of Northern Ireland disagree among themselves whether they are British or Irish.

The people of the Republic of Ireland seem to have no interest in a demonym that would group them with the people of Great Britain.


And this, ladies and gentleman, is the closest we’ll get to a definitive answer for the OP.

I do think what is often forgotten amongst all the politically fraught debates on our relationships is that most Irish (Republic of) and British (of varying stripes) actually feel closely related and friendly at street level. Many of us are literally related.


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Old 01-20-2020, 03:51 PM
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Toffy-nosed gits?

This is GQ so... cite?
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Old 01-20-2020, 04:17 PM
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(not least because Great Britain is not actually in the North Atlantic).
It's not unadjacent to the North Atlantic though.
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Old 01-21-2020, 12:24 AM
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Water does have a tendency to slosh about a bit.

But the problem with the IONA concept (nowithstanding the cute reference to the holy island) is that there are other islands that have a better claim to the name - Iceland, the Faroes.
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Old 01-21-2020, 12:27 AM
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It's not unadjacent to the North Atlantic though.
The main geographical feature that touches the English, Welsh, Scots, Northern Irish, Eire and even the Cornish and Manx, and which seems to be largely apolitical (I'm guessing) is the Irish Sea.

Perhaps something poetic could be engineered in one of the languages that meant, in effect, Irish Seasiders? We use Mediterranean as an adjective in the same way all the time. Coastal indigenous people in Australia sometimes refer to themselves as 'saltwater people' to emphasise commonality with others based around living by the sea.

Last edited by Banksiaman; 01-21-2020 at 12:30 AM. Reason: brain explosion
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Old 01-21-2020, 01:13 AM
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The main geographical feature that touches the English, Welsh, Scots, Northern Irish, Eire and even the Cornish and Manx, and which seems to be largely apolitical (I'm guessing) is the Irish Sea.

Perhaps something poetic could be engineered in one of the languages that meant, in effect, Irish Seasiders? We use Mediterranean as an adjective in the same way all the time. Coastal indigenous people in Australia sometimes refer to themselves as 'saltwater people' to emphasise commonality with others based around living by the sea.
Well, following that thought, you could replace the term "British Isles" with "Irish Isles" on the unimpeachable reasoning that all of the islands concerned are in or on the Irish Sea. And then "Irish" would be the obvious term for anyone from any of the Irish Isles. Who could possibly object?

More seriously, as already pointed out, if there were a real-world need for a one-word term for this group of people, such a term would already exist. There's no word for people from countries that border the Irish sea for the same reason that there's no word for people from countries that border the Adriatic Sea; they don't have sufficient commonality for it to be useful to consider them as a coherent group very often. When the need does arise, "British and Irish" works well.
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Old 01-21-2020, 02:46 AM
The Stafford Cripps is offline
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Originally Posted by Banksiaman View Post
The main geographical feature that touches the English, Welsh, Scots, Northern Irish, Eire and even the Cornish and Manx, and which seems to be largely apolitical (I'm guessing) is the Irish Sea.
No, far more of Scotland directly faces the Atlantic than the Irish Sea. And as I say, "Eire" shouldn't be used in the above sentence.
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Old 01-21-2020, 03:02 AM
bob++ is offline
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Originally Posted by The Stafford Cripps View Post
~ as I say, "Eire" shouldn't be used in the above sentence.
This is a bit of a nitpick. To many people 'Ireland' refers to the whole island of Ireland. Perhaps ROI (Republic of Ireland) is the more correct descriptor of the republic, but 'Eire' is clear and unambiguous.

Dublin is indeed described as the capital of Ireland, but that says more about political ambition than geopolitical accuracy. And, of course, when the whole island was British, Dublin was the capital city.

Last edited by bob++; 01-21-2020 at 03:05 AM.
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