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Demonym (; δῆμος dẽmos 'people, tribe', ὄνομα ónoma 'name') is a recently minted term. (Previously, the term gentilic had been referenced by the Oxford English Dictionary.) Demonyms are words that are used to identify residents or natives of a particular place. A 'demonym' is also derived from the name of that particular place.[1] Examples of demonyms include Chinese for the natives of China, Swahili for the natives of the Swahili coast, and American for the natives of the United States of America (or sometimes for the natives of the Americas). Just as Americans may refer to two different groups of natives, some particular groups of people may be referred to by multiple demonyms. For example, the natives of the United Kingdom are the British, or the Britons. Demonyms are capitalized.[2] In languages other than English, a parallel demonym sometimes does not exist, which may lead to the use of an English demonym 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.[3]

English widely includes country-level demonyms - such as "Ethiopian", "Guatemalan", "Japanese", and "French". But English much more rarely includes lower-level demonyms - such as "Seoulite", "Wisconsinite", "Chicagoan", and "Fluminense".[4][5][6] Indeed, even some large cities such as Australia's Perth, and many other places, lack a commonly used and accepted "demonic". This poses a particular challenge to those toponymists who research demonyms.

Also, demonyms must be considered a subtype of adjectives and nouns used as appellations.


  • Etymology 1
  • Suffixation 2
    • -(a)n 2.1
    • -ian 2.2
    • -anian 2.3
    • -nian 2.4
    • -in(e) 2.5
    • -ite 2.6
    • -(e)r 2.7
    • -(en)(in)o 2.8
    • -ish 2.9
    • -ene 2.10
    • -ensian 2.11
    • -ard 2.12
    • -ese, -lese, -vese, or -nese 2.13
    • -i 2.14
    • -ic 2.15
    • -iot(e) 2.16
    • -asque 2.17
    • -gian 2.18
    • -onian 2.19
    • -vian 2.20
    • From Latin or Latinization 2.21
  • Fiction 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
    • Notes 5.1
  • External links 6


Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary has not adopted the term "demonyn" for these adjectives and nouns

The word gentilic comes from the Latin gentilis ("of a clan, or gens") and the English suffix -ic.[7] The word demonym was derived from the Greek word meaning "populace" (δῆμος demos) with the suffix for "name" (-onym).

  • Alphabetical list of world demonyms.
  • Demonyms of the World.
  • CIA World Factbook – NATIONALITY
  • Demonyms of the United Kingdom.

External links

  1. ^ Local usage generally reserves Hawaiian as an ethnonym referring to Native Hawaiians. Hawaii resident is the preferred local form to refer to state residents in general regardless of ethnicity.[13]


  1. ^ a b George H. Scheetz (1988). Names' Names: A Descriptive and Pervasive Onymicon. Schütz Verlag. 
  2. ^ "Gramática Inglesa. Adjetivos Gentilicios". 
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Google Ngram Viewer". 
  5. ^ "Google Ngram Viewer". 
  6. ^ "Google Ngram Viewer". 
  7. ^ "Dictionary". Merriam Webster. Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  8. ^ "Gentilés, Demonyms: What's in a Name?".  
  9. ^  
  10. ^ What Do You Call a Person From...? A Dictionary of Resident Names by Paul Dickson (Facts on File, February 1990). ISBN 978-0-8160-1983-0.
  11. ^ "Oxford English Dictionary". Oxford University Press. 
  12. ^ , edited by J.E. Sandy, at the Internet Archive"Constitution of Athens"Aristotle's . p. 116. 
  13. ^ Press, AIP, Associated (2007). Stylebook and briefing on media law (42nd ed.). New York: Basic Books. p. 112.  
  14. ^ "Investing in Future, Quiet Manhattan Apartments Next to Construction Sites"
  15. ^ "Copquin explains "Queensites" for New York Times - Yale Press Log". Yale Press Log. 
  16. ^ Paul Dickson (15 August 2006). Labels for Locals : What to Call People from Abilene to Zimbabwe (1st Collins ed.). New York: HarperCollins. p. 208.  
  17. ^ "Corkonian". 
  18. ^ "North West Evening Mail". 
  19. ^ "City of Waterloo on Twitter". 


-onym, especially ethnonym and Exonym and endonym

See also

In a few cases, where a linguistic background has been created, non-standard gentilics are formed (or the eponyms back-formed). Examples include Tolkien's Rohirrim (from Rohan) and the Star Trek world's Klingon people (with various version of homeworld name).

Fantasy literature which involves other worlds or other lands also has a rich supply of gentilics. Examples include Lilliputians and Brobdingnagians, from the islands of Lilliput and Brobdingnag in the satire Gulliver's Travels.

Other science fiction examples include Jovian for those of Jupiter or its moons, and Venusian for those of Venus. Fictional aliens refer to the inhabitants of Earth as Earthling (from the diminutive -ling, ultimately from Old English -ing meaning "descendant"), as well as "Terran", "Terrene", "Tellurian", "Earther", "Earthican", "terrestrial", and "Solarian" (from Sol, the sun).

Literature and science fiction have created a wealth of gentilics that are not directly associated with a cultural group. These will typically be formed using the standard models above. Examples include Martian for hypothetical people of Mars (credited to scientist Percival Lowell) or Gondorian for the people of Tolkien's fictional land of Gondor.


From Latin or Latinization


Often used for British and Irish locations.



Often used for French locations.

  • Monaco → Monégasque (for natural born citizens of Monaco, not naturalized citizens, see above)
  • Menton → Mentonasque


Used especially for Greek locations.



Mostly for Middle Eastern and South Asian locales and in Latinate names for the various people that ancient Romans encountered (e.g. Allemanni, Helvetii)


"-ese" is usually considered proper only as an adjective, or to refer to the entirety. Thus, "a Chinese person" is used rather than "a Chinese". Often used for East Asian and Francophone locations, from the similar-sounding French suffix -ais(e), which is originally from the Latin adjectival ending -ensis, designating origin from a place: thus Hispaniensis (Spanish), Danensis (Danish), etc.

-ese, -lese, -vese, or -nese


  • Kingston-upon-Hull (UK) → Hullensian


Often used for Middle Eastern locations and European locations.


"-ish" is usually only proper as an adjective. Thus many common "-ish" forms have irregular demonyms, e.g. Britain/British/Briton; Denmark/Danish/Dane; England/English/Englishman; Finland/Finnish/Finn; Flanders/Flemish/Fleming; Ireland/Irish/Irishman; Kurdistan/Kurdish/Kurd; Poland/Polish/Pole; Scotland/Scottish/Scot; Spain/Spanish/Spaniard; Sweden/Swedish/Swede; Turkey/Turkish/Turk.



as adaptations from the standard Spanish suffix -(eñ/n)o. countries:


Often used for European locations and Canadian locations





  • Guam → Guamanian



cities / states / provinces:



"German" is not derived by suffixation of the term "Germ"; rather, it is the shortened form of Latin Germanus.


states / provinces:




Several linguistic elements are used to create demonyms in the English language. The most common is to add a suffix to the end of the location name, slightly modified in some instances. These may resemble Late Latin, Semitic, Celtic, or Germanic suffixes, such as:


[12][11] to which the citizen belongs, with its first use traced to 1893.deme according to the citizen Athenian defines as the name of an Oxford English Dictionary, which the demonymic which is apparently where the term first appears. The term may have been fashioned after [1]

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