"That's a great deal to make one word mean," Alice said in a thoughtful tone. "When I make a word do a lot of work like that," said Humpty Dumpty, "I always pay it extra."

Thursday, 10 May 2012


   A demonym (a word not used until coined by Paul Dickson, an editor at Merriam-Webster, in his 1997 book 'Labels for Locals'), also referred to as a gentilic, is a name for a resident of a locality.

A demonym is usually – though not always – derived from the name of the locality;  thus, the demonym for the people of Britain is British, and the demonym for the people of Italy is Italian, yet the one used in the English language for the people of the Netherlands is Dutch (in Dutch Nederland/Nederlander).  In some cases the demonym is said to have preceded the place being named - hence Germany was the place from which Germans came rather then the other way round.

1 comment:

  1. And interestingly enough, while in Italian, the word for Germany is Germania, the Italian word for German / Germans is Tedesco (male), Tedesca (female) and Tedeschi (plural).