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Demonym


A demonym (/ˈdɛmənɪm/; δῆμος dẽmos "people, tribe", ὄνομα ónoma "name") is a word that identifies residents or natives of a particular place, which is derived from the name of that particular place. It is a recently minted term; previously gentilic was recorded in English dictionaries, e.g., the Oxford English Dictionary and Chambers Twentieth Century Dictionary.

Examples of demonyms include Chinese for a native of China, Swahili for a native of the Swahili coast, Indian for a native of India, American for a native of the United States of America (or, more broadly, either one of the Americas), and in the same way natives of the United Mexican States are referred to as Mexicans.

In English, demonyms are often the same as the adjectival form of the place, e.g. "Italian", "Cairene", "Japanese", "Greek". But this is not true in general: the adjective for Spain is "Spanish", but the demonym is "Spaniard".

Some groups of people may be referred to by multiple demonyms, relative to their location. For example, the natives of the United Kingdom can be called British people, Brits, or Britons. In English, demonyms are capitalized. In some languages, when a parallel demonym does not exist, people may borrow the demonym from another language as a nickname or descriptive adjective of a group of people. The term has not been adopted by the Oxford English Dictionary or the Merriam-Webster dictionary.


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