Non-offensive informal names for the inhabitants of your country

This reminds me of once when a coworker of mine who was Jewish commented on something I was wearing…she said “I couldn’t wear something like that, it wouldn’t look right on me. Only a WASP like you could wear that.” I tried to explain to her why Irish-Catholic types like myself don’t necessarily take kindly to being called WASPs, but she didn’t seem to get it!

When I was in Australia I noticed that Brits got called “Poms” a lot. How do you British folks feel about that one?

That one’s tied up in Aussie-English (rather than Aussie-British, I feel) rivalry, all fairly good-natured. If they call us Poms, we’ll remind them they can’t beat us at rugby, they’ll complain about the weather, we’ll make a Steve Irwin joke, etc.

What, someone copyrighted the prison jokes?

My favorite was from another Dope thread about two years ago. Someone was flying from somewhere in the UK to Australia, and when an Australian customs official asked him if he had a criminal record, he replied, “I thought we didn’t need those to go to Australia anymore”.

“Boricuas” is a good informal, friendly word for Puerto Ricans. It comes from the original name for the big island (yes, Puerto Rico is composed of several islands), Boriquen or Borinquen.

I think only actual Puerto Ricans can say “Portorros” without causing trouble. To the unitiated, it sounds like a good shortening of Puerto Rican, but I have seen many people take offense from it.

“Ricans” is also acceptable. “Newyoricans” (for Puerto Ricans from New York) is more or less acceptable, depending on the person, so use carefully.

I’ve also heard Newyorkerican, used of a gorgeous drill sergeant who would likely have flattened you for calling her anything but “ma’am”, so I never got to find out what she thought of that label.

If I recall correctly, there’s a thread somewhere asking if Canadians find “Canuck” to be offensive. I won’t bother digging it up, but I’ll repeat that the answer is no, it’s nothing insulting or upsetting. Heck, there’s actually a superhero named “Captain Canuck.” Maybe we should be proud of the appelation.

“Hoser,” on the other hand, seems to be one that we would prefer to keep to ourselves. No cites here, just personal experience, but while we will sometimes (and not very often) call each other “hoser” as a dig, we don’t seem to be too pleased when we hear a non-Canadian saying it to us.

So “Canuck” is okay, but avoid “hoser.”

Can’t speak for everyone else 'round these parts, but anyone who calls me a “Losangeleno” gets a fist to the face. Not because it’s offensive – it just sounds New Agey and stupid.

My entire maternal family lives in Scotland. They say Paki all the time. The Scots, well my family, tend to shorten the ending of most words.

While I don’t refer to myself as “American” very often (it just doesn’t come up), I use “whitey” a lot.


I would use “yank” I guess.

Any Taffies–uh, make that Welsh–on the board?

What about “Angeleno”?

Quisqueyano for someone from the Dominican Republic… Like boricua, derived from a Taíno word, Quisqueya.

I wish it was but unfortunately for your outraged sensibilities it isn’t.


I’ve always understood “Canuck” to be one of those words that it’s okay for Canadians to use with each other, but not for others. I’ve never heard anyone use “hoser” to mean Canadian in general.

When I was in high school (1976-1981), “paki” was one of the two worst words to use, along with “nigger”.

You could defiantly get away with Aussie, since pretty much every Aussie calls them self Aussie.

Yeah a polish friend of mine never minded being called Pole or polish. But never once have heard “polack” What/where does polack come from or mean?

I’ve always wondered about this. Because my grandparents are english But have been in Australia for 50+years and they always refer to poms and dont mind being refered to as a pom. But how do people in England and have been there whole life feel about it?

To me, it’s still not a great word to use, even when you think you’re just shortening the name down. Can’t think how anyone would presume it to be not insulting, given the British use in television programmes during the 1970s.

It’s an American slur for Polish people in general. “Pollack jokes” used to be pretty popular here, until:

  1. They were no longer PC–that hasn’t stopped the black/Jew/Mexican jokes, but those are about specific stereotypes, whereas “Pollack” jokes are basically blonde jokes with one or two words changed–the basic theme is “All Polish people are stupid, everything they make is faulty, and everything they do is wrong.” Not interesting enough to even be risque, really.

  2. Polish immigrants were overtaken by other immigrant groups (Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, etc.) in terms of cultural importance.

I wouldn’t take offense to anyone from anywhere calling me a Canuck, but please don’t call me a Canadien. I’m not from Quebec.

(I would assume you were making a joke if you called me a hoser. I would also assume you were a fellow Canuck, because who else knows to call people that? :smiley: )

Not very nice of them. I wonder what other words they use all the time for other groups. No, please just don’t tell me.
Hahah, maybe the joke’s on me: :slight_smile: I have just noticed that a user named “unconventional” might well have a family that uses words others try to avoid. Oh well, then.

But, any of you planning to visit the U.K., advice = it is NOT a word to use. Really.