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The terminology of the British Isles refers to the words and phrases that are used to describe the (sometimes overlapping) geographical and political areas of the islands of
Great Britain Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of continental Europe. With an area of , it is the largest of the British Isles, the List of European islands by area, largest European island, and the List of i ...

Great Britain
,
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Great Britain and Ireland), North Channel, the Irish Sea ...

Ireland
and the smaller islands which surround them. The terms are often a source of confusion, partly owing to the similarity between some of the actual words used but also because they are often used loosely. Many of the words carry geographical and political connotations which are affected by the history of the islands. The purpose of this article is to explain the meanings of and relationships among the terms in use; many of these classifications are contentious .


Summary

The use of terms depends on context; words and phrases can be grouped into geographical, political, linguistic and sporting terms. In brief, the main terms and their simple explanations are as follows: * Geographical terms: ** The
British Isles The British Isles are a group of islands in the North Atlantic off the north-western coast of continental Europe Continental Europe or mainland Europe is the contiguous continent A continent is any of several large landmasse ...

British Isles
is an
archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as ...

archipelago
in the
Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
off the coast of
Continental Europe Continental Europe or mainland Europe is the contiguous continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical region ...

Continental Europe
. It includes
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Great Britain and Ireland), North Channel, the Irish Sea ...

Ireland
,
Great Britain Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of continental Europe. With an area of , it is the largest of the British Isles, the List of European islands by area, largest European island, and the List of i ...

Great Britain
, the
Isle of Man ) , anthem = " O Land of Our Birth" , image = Isle of Man by Sentinel-2.jpg , image_map = Europe-Isle_of_Man.svg , mapsize = 290px , map_alt = Location of the Isle of Man in Europe , map_caption = Location of the Isle of Man (green) in E ...

Isle of Man
,
Shetland Shetland ( on, Hjaltland; sco, Shetland; nrn, Hjetland), also called the Shetland Islands and formerly Zetland, is a subarctic archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or co ...

Shetland
,
Orkney Orkney (; sco, Orkney; on, Orkneyjar; nrn, Orknøjar), also known as the Orkney Islands, is an archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of island A ...

Orkney
and thousands of smaller islands. Traditionally the
Channel Islands The Channel Islands ( nrf, Îles d'la Manche; french: îles Anglo-Normandes or ''îles de la Manche'') are an archipelago in the English Channel, off the French coast of Normandy. They include two Crown Dependencies: the Jersey, Bailiwick of ...

Channel Islands
are included, though they are geographically closer to mainland continental Europe, off the French coast of
Normandy Normandy (; french: link=no, Normandie ; nrf, Normaundie; from Old French Old French (, , ; Modern French French ( or ) is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, ...

Normandy
. This, in part, has resulted in the term being
disputed Controversy is a state of prolonged public dispute or debate, usually concerning a matter of conflicting opinion or point of view. The word was coined from the Latin ''controversia'', as a composite of ''controversus'' – "turned in an opposite di ...
.Written Answers – Official Terms"
,
Dáil Éireann Dáil Éireann ( , ; ) is the , and principal chamber, of the (Irish legislature), which also includes the and (the ).Article 15.1.2º of the reads: "The Oireachtas shall consist of the President and two Houses, viz.: a House of Represent ...
, Volume 606, 28 September 2005. In his response, the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs stated that "The British Isles is not an officially recognised term in any legal or inter-governmental sense. It is without any official status. The Government, including the Department of Foreign Affairs, does not use this term. Our officials in the Embassy of Ireland, London, continue to monitor the media in Britain for any abuse of the official terms as set out in the Constitution of Ireland and legislation. These include the name of the State, the President,
Taoiseach The Taoiseach is the prime minister and head of government The head of government is either the highest or second highest official in the executive branch of a sovereign state, a federated state, or a self-governing colony, autonomous reg ...
and others."
***
Great Britain Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of continental Europe. With an area of , it is the largest of the British Isles, the List of European islands by area, largest European island, and the List of i ...

Great Britain
is the largest island of the archipelago. ***
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Great Britain and Ireland), North Channel, the Irish Sea ...

Ireland
is the second-largest island of the archipelago and lies directly to the west of Great Britain. The island of Ireland itself has its own
islands An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atoll An atoll (), sometimes known as a coral atoll, is ...
. *** The full
list of islands of the British Isles This page is a list of some of the islands that form the British Isles that have an area of one kilometre squared (247 acres) or larger, listing area and population data. The total area of the islands is 314,965 km2 (121,608 sq. mi.).
includes over 6,000 islands, of which 51 have an area larger than . * Political terms: ** The
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shortha ...

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
is the parliamentary
constitutional monarchy A constitutional monarchy, parliamentary monarchy, or democratic monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exercises his authority in accordance with a constitution and is not alone in deciding. Constitutional monarchies differ from ...
occupying the island of Great Britain, the small nearby islands (but not the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands), and the
north-eastern part of the island of Ireland
north-eastern part of the island of Ireland
. Usually, it is shortened to ''the United Kingdom'' or ''the UK'', or ''Britain''.'''' ''Great Britain'' is sometimes used as a short form and is the name used by the UK in some international organisations. The abbreviation ''GB'' is frequently used for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in international agreements, e.g.
Universal Postal Union The Universal Postal Union (UPU, french: Union postale universelle), established by the Treaty of Bern of 1874, is a specialized agency United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous organizations working with the United Nations ...
and , as well as in the
ISO 3166 ISO 3166 is a standard Standard may refer to: Flags * Colours, standards and guidons * Standard (flag), a type of flag used for personal identification Norm, convention or requirement * Standard (metrology), an object that bears a defined ...
country codes (GB and GBR). ''England'' was also formerly used
synecdochically A synecdoche ( , from Ancient Greek, Greek grc, συνεκδοχή, synekdochē, simultaneous understanding, label=none) is a figure of speech in which a term for a part of something refers to the whole of something or vice versa. A synecdoche ...
to refer to the whole United Kingdom but this usage became rare early in the 20th century (though it persists in other languages). **
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Great Britain and Ireland), North Channel, the Irish Sea ...

Ireland
is the sovereign republic occupying the larger portion of the island of Ireland. To distinguish the state from the island, or to distinguish either of these from
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster-ScotsUlster Scots, also known as Scotch-Irish, may refer to: * Ulster Scots people The Ulster Scots (Ulster-Scots The Ulster Scots (Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster- ...

Northern Ireland
, it is also called "the Republic of Ireland" or simply "the Republic". In the past, its
Irish-language Irish ( in Standard Irish Standard may refer to: Symbols * Colours, standards and guidons, kinds of military signs * Heraldic flag, Standard (emblem), a type of a large symbol or emblem used for identification Norms, conventions or requi ...
name, ''
Éire () is Irish language, Irish for "Ireland", the name of Ireland, an island and Republic of Ireland, a sovereign state occupying most of the island (26 of the 32 counties), Names of the Irish state, officially named Ireland in English, and ofte ...
'' (or ''Eire'' without the diacritic), was often used in an English-language context to distinguish it from "Northern Ireland". ** England,
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba Alba (Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to simply as Gaelic) is a Goidelic language (in the Celtic languages, Celtic branch of the Indo-European ...

Scotland
,
Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the Wales–England border, east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, and the Bristol Channel to the south. It ...

Wales
and
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster-ScotsUlster Scots, also known as Scotch-Irish, may refer to: * Ulster Scots people The Ulster Scots (Ulster-Scots The Ulster Scots (Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster- ...

Northern Ireland
are the four
countries of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK), since 1922, comprises four constituent countries: England, Scotland, and Wales (which collectively make up Great Britain), as well as Northern Ireland (#Terminology, variously descr ...
, though they are also referred to, especially in sporting contexts, as the
home nations Home Nations is a collective term with one of two meanings depending on context. Politically it means the nations of the constituent countries of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly kn ...

home nations
of the United Kingdom. **
England and Wales England and Wales () is a legal jurisdiction covering England and Wales, two of the four countries of the United Kingdom, parts of the United Kingdom. England and Wales forms the constitutional successor to the former Kingdom of England and follows ...

England and Wales
, Scotland, and Northern Ireland are separate legal jurisdictions within the United Kingdom.Though the statute law applicable in Wales has diverged further from that applicable in England since devolution from the UK government to the
National Assembly for Wales The Senedd (; ), officially known as the Welsh Parliament in English language, English and () in Welsh language, Welsh, is the Devolution in the United Kingdom, devolved, unicameral legislature of Wales. A democratically elected body, it makes ...

National Assembly for Wales
, "England and Wales" remains a single jurisdiction.
**
Great Britain Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of continental Europe. With an area of , it is the largest of the British Isles, the List of European islands by area, largest European island, and the List of i ...
means the countries of England, Wales and Scotland, considered as a unit."Great Britain", New Oxford American Dictionary: "Great Britain: England, Wales, and Scotland considered as a unit. The name is also often used loosely to refer to the United Kingdom." **
British Islands The British Islands is a term within the law of the United Kingdom which since 1889 has referred collectively to the following four polities: * the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (formerly the United Kingdom of Great Br ...

British Islands
consists of the United Kingdom, the
Channel Islands The Channel Islands ( nrf, Îles d'la Manche; french: îles Anglo-Normandes or ''îles de la Manche'') are an archipelago in the English Channel, off the French coast of Normandy. They include two Crown Dependencies: the Jersey, Bailiwick of ...

Channel Islands
and the
Isle of Man ) , anthem = " O Land of Our Birth" , image = Isle of Man by Sentinel-2.jpg , image_map = Europe-Isle_of_Man.svg , mapsize = 290px , map_alt = Location of the Isle of Man in Europe , map_caption = Location of the Isle of Man (green) in E ...

Isle of Man
. These are the
polities A polity is an identifiable political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social and political), power relations between ind ...
within the British Isles that have the
British monarch The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents A precedent is a principle or rule established ...
as head of state. * Linguistic terms: ** The two
sovereign states A sovereign state is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social ...

sovereign states
in the region, the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
and
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Great Britain and Ireland), North Channel, the Irish Sea ...

Ireland
, are frequently referred to as ''countries''. So too are
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. E ...

England
,
Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the Wales–England border, east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, and the Bristol Channel to the south. It ...

Wales
,
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba Alba (Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to simply as Gaelic) is a Goidelic language (in the Celtic languages, Celtic branch of the Indo-European ...

Scotland
and, to a lesser extent,
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster-ScotsUlster Scots, also known as Scotch-Irish, may refer to: * Ulster Scots people The Ulster Scots (Ulster-Scots The Ulster Scots (Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster- ...

Northern Ireland
(as is the whole
island of Ireland Ireland (; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Great Britain and Ireland), North Channel, the Irish ...

island of Ireland
). ** British is an adjective of the United Kingdom; for example, a
citizen Citizenship is a relationship between an individual and a state to which the individual owes allegiance and in turn is entitled to its protection. Each state determines the conditions under which it will recognize persons as its citizens, and t ...

citizen
of the UK is called a
British citizen British nationality law details the conditions in which a person holds United Kingdom nationality. There are six different classes of British nationality, each with varying degrees of civil and political rights, due to the UK's historical statu ...
—but for citizenship purposes "British" includes the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. ** Anglo- is often used as an adjectival prefix referring to the United Kingdom (notwithstanding that its original meaning is "English") particularly in the field of diplomatic relations. It can also refer to the English language, to anglophone peoples and can have a variety of other shades of meaning. ** Wales is sometimes called the ''
Principality of Wales The Principality of Wales ( cy, Tywysogaeth Cymru) existed between 1216 and 1536, encompassing two-thirds of modern Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It i ...

Principality of Wales
'', although this has no modern constitutional basis. ** Northern Ireland is often referred to as a ''province'' or called ''Ulster'', after the of
Ulster Ulster (; ga, Ulaidh or ''Cúige Uladh'' ; sco, label=Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster Scots, Ulstèr or ''Ulster'') is one of the four traditional Irish provinces of Ireland, provinces, in the north of Ireland. It is made up of nine Counties ...

Ulster
within which it is located. * Sport ** Forms of national representation vary from sport to sport. England, Scotland and Wales often compete separately as ''nations''. In some sports—such as
rugby Rugby may refer to: Sports Rugby codes * Rugby football in various forms: ** Rugby league: 13 players per side *** Masters Rugby League *** Mod league *** Rugby league nines *** Rugby league sevens *** Touch (sport) *** Wheelchair rugby league ** ...
and
cricket Cricket is a Bat-and-ball games, bat-and-ball game played between two teams of eleven players each on a cricket field, field at the centre of which is a cricket pitch, pitch with a wicket at each end, each comprising two Bail (cricket), bai ...

cricket
—the island of Ireland competes as a nation; in others, most notably
association football Association football, more commonly known as simply football or soccer, is a team sport A team sport includes any sport Sport pertains to any form of Competition, competitive physical activity or game that aims to use, maintain ...
, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland field separate teams. In these contexts England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland/Northern Ireland are sometimes described as ''the
home nations Home Nations is a collective term with one of two meanings depending on context. Politically it means the nations of the constituent countries of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly kn ...

home nations
''. **Forms of representation can also vary within a sport. In men's association football, for instance, England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland compete as separate nations at the
FIFA World Cup The FIFA World Cup, often simply called the World Cup, is an international association football Association football, more commonly known as simply football or soccer, is a played with a between two teams of 11 . It is played by ...
but join together as the
Great Britain Olympic football team The Great Britain Olympic football team is the men's football Football is a family of team sport A team is a
Olympics The modern Olympic Games or Olympics (french: Jeux olympiques) are leading international sporting events featuring summer and winter sports competitions in which thousands of athletes An athlete (also sportsman or sportswoman) is a pe ...
. ** Rugby union players from both Ireland and Great Britain play for British and Irish Lions representing the four "Home Unions" of Rugby Football Union, England, Irish Rugby Football Union, Ireland, Scottish Rugby Union, Scotland and Welsh Rugby Union, Wales. ** Great Britain is sometimes used to mean United Kingdom. For example, at the
Olympic Games The modern Olympic Games or Olympics (french: Jeux olympiques) are leading international sporting events featuring summer and winter sports competitions in which thousands of athletes An athlete (also sportsman or sportswoman) is a pe ...
, the team called "Great Britain" represents Great Britain and Northern Ireland.'Irish and GB in Olympic row' BBC Sport 27 January, 2004
retrieved 1 January 2011
However, athletes from Northern Ireland have, under their entitlement to dual nationality, the choice of participating in either the Great Britain team or the Republic of Ireland team. ** In the majority of individual sports (e.g.
tennis Tennis is a racket sport that can be played individually against a single opponent (Types of tennis match#Singles, singles) or between two teams of two players each (Types of tennis match#Doubles, doubles). Each player uses a tennis racket th ...

tennis
and
athletics Athletics may refer to: Sports * Sport of athletics, a collection of sporting events that involve competitive running, jumping, throwing, and walking ** Track and field, a sub-category of the above sport * Athletics (physical culture), competitio ...
), at the international level competitors are identified as GB if they are from Great Britain or Northern Ireland. A small number of sports (e.g.
golf Golf is a club-and-ball sport Sport pertains to any form of competitive Competition is a rivalry A rivalry is the state of two people or groups engaging in a lasting competitive relationship. Rivalry is the "against each other" ...

golf
,
darts Darts or dart-throwing is a competitive game in which two or more players bare-handedly throw File:Throwing rocks (3843366278).jpg, Throwing of stones into the river Throwing is the launching of a ballistics, ballistic projectile by hand. This ...

darts
,
snooker Snooker (pronounced , ) is a cue sport Cue sports (sometimes written cuesports), also known as billiard sports, are a wide variety of games of skill generally played with a cue stick, which is used to strike billiard balls and thereby c ...

snooker
) identify participants as representing their constituent country. In the
Commonwealth Games The Commonwealth Games, often referred to as the ''Friendly Games'', is an international multi-sport event A multi-sport event is an organized sporting Sporting may refer to: *Sport, recreational games and play *Sporting (neighborhood), in ...
, England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales each compete as separate nations, as do each of the three Crown Dependencies (Ireland is not part of the
Commonwealth A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good Common good Common good In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about r ...

Commonwealth
and is not eligible to participate).


Visual guide

Below is a visual reference guide to some of the main concepts and territories described in this article: Image:British Isles all.svg, The
British Isles The British Isles are a group of islands in the North Atlantic off the north-western coast of continental Europe Continental Europe or mainland Europe is the contiguous continent A continent is any of several large landmasse ...

British Isles
Image:British Islands.svg, The
British Islands The British Islands is a term within the law of the United Kingdom which since 1889 has referred collectively to the following four polities: * the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (formerly the United Kingdom of Great Br ...

British Islands
Image:United Kingdom in the British Isles.svg, The
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
Image:Great Britain.svg,
Great Britain Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of continental Europe. With an area of , it is the largest of the British Isles, the List of European islands by area, largest European island, and the List of i ...

Great Britain
(island) Image:Island of Ireland.svg,
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Great Britain and Ireland), North Channel, the Irish Sea ...

Ireland
(island) Image:British Isles England.svg,
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. E ...

England
Image:British Isles Scotland.svg,
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba Alba (Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to simply as Gaelic) is a Goidelic language (in the Celtic languages, Celtic branch of the Indo-European ...

Scotland
Image:British Isles Wales.svg,
Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the Wales–England border, east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, and the Bristol Channel to the south. It ...

Wales
Image:Republic of Ireland.svg,
Republic of Ireland Ireland ( ga, Éire ), also known as the Republic of Ireland ('), is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective id ...

Republic of Ireland
Image:British Isles Northern Ireland.svg,
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster-ScotsUlster Scots, also known as Scotch-Irish, may refer to: * Ulster Scots people The Ulster Scots (Ulster-Scots The Ulster Scots (Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster- ...

Northern Ireland
Image:British Isles Isle of Man.svg, The
Isle of Man ) , anthem = " O Land of Our Birth" , image = Isle of Man by Sentinel-2.jpg , image_map = Europe-Isle_of_Man.svg , mapsize = 290px , map_alt = Location of the Isle of Man in Europe , map_caption = Location of the Isle of Man (green) in E ...

Isle of Man
Image:British Isles Channel Islands.svg, The
Channel Islands The Channel Islands ( nrf, Îles d'la Manche; french: îles Anglo-Normandes or ''îles de la Manche'') are an archipelago in the English Channel, off the French coast of Normandy. They include two Crown Dependencies: the Jersey, Bailiwick of ...

Channel Islands
(
Jersey Jersey ( , ; nrf, label=Jèrriais, Jèrri ), officially the Bailiwick of Jersey (french: Bailliage de Jersey, links=no; Jèrriais: ''Bailliage dé Jèrri''), is an island and self-governing Crown dependencies, Crown Dependency near the coa ...

Jersey
,
Guernsey Guernsey (; Guernésiais Guernésiais, also known as ''Dgèrnésiais'', Guernsey French, and Guernsey Norman French, is the variety of the spoken in . It is sometimes known on the island simply as "". As one of the , it has its roots in , ...

Guernsey
)


Terminology in detail

*
Britain Britain usually refers to: * United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United ...
is a political and geographic term which can refer to the
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
,"the term 'Britain' is used informally to mean the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" — quote fro
British Government website
/ref> or the island of
Great Britain Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of continental Europe. With an area of , it is the largest of the British Isles, the List of European islands by area, largest European island, and the List of i ...

Great Britain
. * Great Britain is the largest island in Europe and the
political union A political union is a type of political entity A polity is an identifiable political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (s ...
of three nations, these being: ::*
England and Wales England and Wales () is a legal jurisdiction covering England and Wales, two of the four countries of the United Kingdom, parts of the United Kingdom. England and Wales forms the constitutional successor to the former Kingdom of England and follows ...

England and Wales
is a political and administrative term referring to the two home countries of England and Wales, which share the same legal system. Between
1746 Events January–March * January 8 Events Pre-1600 *307 – Emperor Huai of Jin, Jin Huaidi becomes emperor of China in succession to his father, Emperor Hui of Jin, Jin Huidi, despite a challenge from his uncle, Sima Yin ...
and
1967 Events January * January 1 – Canada begins a year-long celebration of the 100th anniversary of Canadian Confederation, Confederation, featuring the Expo 67 World's Fair. * January 4 – The Doors release their début album ''The Doors ( ...
the term "England" did legally include Wales. :::*
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. E ...

England
(see also the historical
Kingdom of England The Kingdom of England (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or ...

Kingdom of England
). :::*
Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the Wales–England border, east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, and the Bristol Channel to the south. It ...

Wales
(see also the historical
Principality of Wales The Principality of Wales ( cy, Tywysogaeth Cymru) existed between 1216 and 1536, encompassing two-thirds of modern Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It i ...

Principality of Wales
). ::*
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba Alba (Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to simply as Gaelic) is a Goidelic language (in the Celtic languages, Celtic branch of the Indo-European ...

Scotland
(see also the historical
Kingdom of Scotland The Kingdom of Scotland ( gd, Rìoghachd na h-Alba; sco, Kinrick o Scotland) was a sovereign state in northwest Europe traditionally said to have been founded in 843. Its territories expanded and shrank, but it came to occupy the northern thi ...
) :*The historical
Kingdom of Great Britain The Kingdom of Great Britain, officially called Great Britain,"After the political union of England and Scotland in 1707, the nation's official name became 'Great Britain'", ''The American Pageant, Volume 1'', Cengage Learning (2012) was a s ...

Kingdom of Great Britain
is Britain for the period 1707–1801. *Britannia is the Latin name for Great Britain or for the
Roman province of Britain Roman Britain is the period in classical antiquity when large parts of the island of Great Britain were under Roman conquest of Britain, occupation by the Roman Empire. The occupation lasted from AD 43 to AD 410. During that time, the ...

Roman province of Britain
, or a poetic reference to later Britain, or a female . * The
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
, usually shortened to the United Kingdom (abbreviation UK), is the
sovereign state A sovereign state is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized social relation, social relatio ...
comprising
Great Britain Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of continental Europe. With an area of , it is the largest of the British Isles, the List of European islands by area, largest European island, and the List of i ...
plus Northern Ireland since 1927. (The Partition of Ireland took place in 1922, but the consequent change in the official title of the UK was only made by Act of Parliament five years later.) The United Kingdom is often called ''Britain'', even on official websites, where such use is described as "informal". A proposal to rename the political entity as the " United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ulster" was formally recommended by civil servants to the Cabinet in 1949 but ultimately rejected. :*The historical
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was a sovereign state A sovereign state is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some f ...

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
was
Great Britain Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of continental Europe. With an area of , it is the largest of the British Isles, the List of European islands by area, largest European island, and the List of i ...
plus
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Great Britain and Ireland), North Channel, the Irish Sea ...

Ireland
, for the period 1801 to 1922, although the name change after the secession of the Irish Free State only took place in 1927. * While "United Kingdom" is normally abbreviated ''UK'', the official
ISO 3166 ISO 3166 is a standard Standard may refer to: Flags * Colours, standards and guidons * Standard (flag), a type of flag used for personal identification Norm, convention or requirement * Standard (metrology), an object that bears a defined ...
two-letter country code is ''GB'' and the three letter code is ''GBR'' (
Ukraine Ukraine ( uk, Україна, Ukraïna, ) is a country in . It is the in Europe after , which it borders to the east and north-east. Ukraine also shares borders with to the north; , , and to the west; and to the south; and has a coastli ...

Ukraine
has the two letter code UA and the three letter code UKR). Due to a pre-existing convention originating in the UK's
JANET Janet may refer to: Names * Janet (given name) Janet is a feminine given name A given name (also known as a first name or forename) is the part of a quoted in that identifies a person, potentially with a as well, and differentiates th ...
academic computer network, the UK's Internet top-level domain is ''
.uk .uk is the Internet The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks and devices. It is a ''internetworking, network of ne ...
'', a break from the
TCP/IP The Internet protocol suite, commonly known as TCP/IP, is the set of communications protocol A communication protocol is a system of rules that allows two or more entities of a communications system 400px, Communication system A commu ...
practice of following ISO 3166 (a ''
.gb .gb is a reserved Internet The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks and devices. It is a ''internetworking, netw ...
'' domain has also been used to a limited extent in the past but is now defunct). ''GB'' is also used on car number plates to indicate the United Kingdom. *
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Great Britain and Ireland), North Channel, the Irish Sea ...

Ireland
( ga, Éire) refers, geographically, to the island of Ireland, or to any of the following: :''Historically:'' :*The
Kingdom of Ireland The Kingdom of Ireland ( ga, label=Early Modern Irish, Classical Irish, an Ríoghacht Éireann; ga, label=Irish language#Towards a standard Irish – An Caighdeán Oifigiúil, Modern Irish, an Ríocht Éireann, ) was a client state of Kingdo ...

Kingdom of Ireland
was Ireland for the period 1541–1801. (The
King of Ireland Monarchical systems of government have existed in Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North C ...
remained Head of State in the Irish Free State and Ireland/Éire until the
Republic of Ireland Act 1948 The Republic of Ireland Act 1948 (No. 22 of 1948) is an Act of the Oireachtas The Oireachtas ( , ), sometimes referred to as Oireachtas Éireann, is the legislature A legislature is a deliberative assembly with the authority In the ...
abolished that status). :*The
Irish Republic The Irish Republic ( ga, Poblacht na hÉireann or ) was an unrecognised revolutionary state that declared its independence from the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the Unite ...

Irish Republic
, established by the
Irish Declaration of Independence The Declaration of Independence ( ga, Forógra na Saoirse, french: link=no, Déclaration d'Indépendance) was a document adopted by Dáil Éireann Dáil Éireann ( , ; ) is the lower house, and principal chamber, of the Oireachtas (Irish le ...

Irish Declaration of Independence
, was a 32-county republic encompassing the entire island, during the period 1919–22—though its ''de facto'' rule did not encompass all of the island. During this period, according to British law, Ireland remained part of the UK though its independence was recognised by
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because th ...
. :* Southern Ireland was a 26-county region of Ireland that was created when Ireland was partitioned under the
Government of Ireland Act 1920 The Government of Ireland Act 1920 (10 & 11 Geo. 5 c. 67) was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the supreme legislative body A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer ...
. It was superseded by: :*The
Irish Free State The Irish Free State ( ga, Saorstát Éireann, , ; 6 December 192229 December 1937) was a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of St ...
is Ireland excepting Northern Ireland during the period 1922–37. :''Present'': :*Ireland ( ga, Éire) is the political entity consisting of the island of Ireland excepting Northern Ireland, 1937–present. This is the name of the state according to the
Irish Constitution The Constitution of Ireland ( ga, Bunreacht na hÉireann, ) is the fundamental law of Ireland Ireland (; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Gre ...
and the United Nations. :*The
Republic of Ireland Ireland ( ga, Éire ), also known as the Republic of Ireland ('), is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective id ...

Republic of Ireland
is a commonly used description of Ireland excepting Northern Ireland, 1949–present. It is also the name used by the international
Association Football Association football, more commonly known as simply football or soccer, is a team sport A team sport includes any sport Sport pertains to any form of Competition, competitive physical activity or game that aims to use, maintain ...
team. ::The terms ''Irish Republic'', ''Southern Ireland'', the ''Irish Free State'', the ''Free State'', the ''26 Counties'' and ''Éire'' (in English-language texts) have been used synonymously with the ''Republic of Ireland''. Of these, ''Southern Ireland'' and ''Irish Free State'', in particular, are seen as outdated. ''Eire'' (spelt without the Irish '''') was the British legal spelling from the
Eire (Confirmation of Agreements) Act 1938 The Eire (Confirmation of Agreements) Act 1938 was an Act of Parliament, Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed on 17 May 1938. It was the British implementing measure for the Anglo-Irish Trade Agreement, 1938 Anglo-Irish Agreements w ...
until the
Ireland Act 1949 The Ireland Act 1949 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom In the United Kingdom an Act of Parliament is primary legislation In parliamentary systems and presidential systems of government, primary legislation and secondary l ...
, and informally for some years after. :*
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster-ScotsUlster Scots, also known as Scotch-Irish, may refer to: * Ulster Scots people The Ulster Scots (Ulster-Scots The Ulster Scots (Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster- ...

Northern Ireland
(1921–present). That part of the island of Ireland northeast of the line of partition of 1921, and which is still part of the United Kingdom. Various alternative names have been used or proposed for Northern Ireland. It is sometimes referred to as "the North of Ireland", "the Six Counties" or (in extremist usage) the "occupied six counties", especially by Irish Nationalists. The "Northern" in "Northern Ireland" is not completely accurate. The most northerly point on the island,
Malin Head Malin Head ( ga, Cionn Mhálanna) is the most northerly point of mainland Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster-Scots: ) is an island upright=1.15, Great_Britain.html"_;"title="Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain">Ireland_(left)_ ...
, is in the Republic of Ireland—in
County Donegal County Donegal ( ; ga, Contae Dhún na nGall) is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William ...
's
Inishowen Inishowen () is a peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from 'almost' and 'island') is a landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of the solid surface of the Earth or other planetary body A planet is an astronomical ...

Inishowen
Peninsula. :*
Ulster Ulster (; ga, Ulaidh or ''Cúige Uladh'' ; sco, label=Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster Scots, Ulstèr or ''Ulster'') is one of the four traditional Irish provinces of Ireland, provinces, in the north of Ireland. It is made up of nine Counties ...

Ulster
is the name of one of Ireland's four traditional
provinces A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, are g ...

provinces
. The province contains nine northern counties, six of which make up
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster-ScotsUlster Scots, also known as Scotch-Irish, may refer to: * Ulster Scots people The Ulster Scots (Ulster-Scots The Ulster Scots (Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster- ...

Northern Ireland
, and three of which are part of the
Republic of Ireland Ireland ( ga, Éire ), also known as the Republic of Ireland ('), is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective id ...

Republic of Ireland
. It is also often used by Unionists to refer to the smaller
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster-ScotsUlster Scots, also known as Scotch-Irish, may refer to: * Ulster Scots people The Ulster Scots (Ulster-Scots The Ulster Scots (Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster- ...

Northern Ireland
. Though Ulster has not been a political entity since the ancient Gaelic provincial kingdoms, it remains associated with a geographical area and is used in sporting and cultural contexts. See Ulster (disambiguation). :''In sport'' :*In
Gaelic games Gaelic games ( ga, Cluichí Gaelacha) are sports played in Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the ...
, no distinction is recognised between the GAA counties of the Republic and those of Northern Ireland. County teams play in their provincial championships (where the six counties of Ulster within Northern Ireland and three within the Republic all play in the Ulster championship) and the winners of these play in the All-Ireland championship. Even within Northern Ireland, the tricolour is flown at all games. At bigger games, where an anthem is played, it is always the national anthem of the Republic. In the case of the
International Rules International rules football ( ga, Peil na rialacha idirnáisiunta; also known as international rules in Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of ...
series against
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...
, an Irish national team is chosen from all 32 counties. :*In
association football Association football, more commonly known as simply football or soccer, is a team sport A team sport includes any sport Sport pertains to any form of Competition, competitive physical activity or game that aims to use, maintain ...
, the teams correspond to political entities: Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. In accordance with
UEFA The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA ; french: Union des associations européennes de football; german: Union der europäischen Fußballverbände) is the administrative body for football, futsal and beach soccer in Europe, as wel ...

UEFA
and
FIFA FIFA ( french: Fédération Internationale de Football Association; en, International Federation of Association Football, link=yes; : ''Federación Internacional de Fútbol Asociación''; : ''Internationaler Verband des Association-Fußball'' ...
's rules, each of these countries has its own football league: the
Irish Football League Irish most commonly refers to: * Someone or something of, from, or related to: ** Ireland, an island situated off the north-western coast of continental Europe ***Éire, Irish language name for the isle ** Northern Ireland, a constituent unit of t ...
and the
League of Ireland The League of Ireland ( ga, Sraith na hÉireann), together with the Football Association of Ireland, is one of the two main governing bodies responsible for organising association football in the Republic of Ireland. The term was originally used ...
respectively. :*In
rugby union Rugby union, commonly known simply as rugby, is a Contact sport#Terminology, close-contact team sport that originated in England in the first half of the 19th century. One of the Comparison of rugby league and rugby union, two codes of rugby f ...
,
rugby league Rugby league football, commonly known as just rugby league or simply league, rugby, football, or footy, is a full-contact sport played by two teams of thirteen players on a rectangular field Field may refer to: Expanses of open ground * Fi ...
,
field hockey Field hockey is a team sport A team sport includes any sport Sport pertains to any form of Competition, competitive physical activity or game that aims to use, maintain or improve physical ability and skills while providing enjoym ...

field hockey
,
cricket Cricket is a Bat-and-ball games, bat-and-ball game played between two teams of eleven players each on a cricket field, field at the centre of which is a cricket pitch, pitch with a wicket at each end, each comprising two Bail (cricket), bai ...

cricket
,
boxing Boxing is a combat sport A combat sport, or fighting sport, is a competitive contact sport that usually involves one-on-one combat. In many combat sports, a contestant wins by scoring more points than the opponent or by disabling the opponent ...

boxing
,
golf Golf is a club-and-ball sport Sport pertains to any form of competitive Competition is a rivalry A rivalry is the state of two people or groups engaging in a lasting competitive relationship. Rivalry is the "against each other" ...

golf
,
athletics Athletics may refer to: Sports * Sport of athletics, a collection of sporting events that involve competitive running, jumping, throwing, and walking ** Track and field, a sub-category of the above sport * Athletics (physical culture), competitio ...
and others the ''Ireland'' team is drawn from the whole island (i.e. both the Republic and Northern Ireland). Many sports organisations are subdivided along provincial lines e.g.
Gaelic Athletic Association The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA; ga, Cumann Lúthchleas Gael ; CLG) is an Irish international amateur sporting and cultural organisation, focused primarily on promoting indigenous Gaelic games Gaelic games ( ga, Cluichí Gaelacha) ar ...
,
golf Golf is a club-and-ball sport Sport pertains to any form of competitive Competition is a rivalry A rivalry is the state of two people or groups engaging in a lasting competitive relationship. Rivalry is the "against each other" ...

golf
. * The
British Isles The British Isles are a group of islands in the North Atlantic off the north-western coast of continental Europe Continental Europe or mainland Europe is the contiguous continent A continent is any of several large landmasse ...

British Isles
is a term used to mean the island of Great Britain plus the island of Ireland and many smaller surrounding islands, including the
Isle of Man ) , anthem = " O Land of Our Birth" , image = Isle of Man by Sentinel-2.jpg , image_map = Europe-Isle_of_Man.svg , mapsize = 290px , map_alt = Location of the Isle of Man in Europe , map_caption = Location of the Isle of Man (green) in E ...

Isle of Man
and, in some contexts, the
Channel Islands The Channel Islands ( nrf, Îles d'la Manche; french: îles Anglo-Normandes or ''îles de la Manche'') are an archipelago in the English Channel, off the French coast of Normandy. They include two Crown Dependencies: the Jersey, Bailiwick of ...

Channel Islands
(
Guernsey Guernsey (; Guernésiais Guernésiais, also known as ''Dgèrnésiais'', Guernsey French, and Guernsey Norman French, is the variety of the spoken in . It is sometimes known on the island simply as "". As one of the , it has its roots in , ...

Guernsey
and
Jersey Jersey ( , ; nrf, label=Jèrriais, Jèrri ), officially the Bailiwick of Jersey (french: Bailliage de Jersey, links=no; Jèrriais: ''Bailliage dé Jèrri''), is an island and self-governing Crown dependencies, Crown Dependency near the coa ...

Jersey
). See
British Isles naming dispute The toponym Toponymy, toponymics, or toponomastics (from grc, τόπος / , 'place', and / , 'name') is the study of ''toponyms Toponymy, also toponymics or toponomastics (from grc, τόπος / , 'place', and / , 'name') is the ...
for details of the conflict over use of this term. :* Anglo-Celtic Isles is an alternative term (in limited use) for the archipelago more commonly referred to as the ''British Isles''. It is intended as a geographic term free of any political implication and uses the macro-cultural grouping term
Anglo-Celtic Anglo-Celtic people are descended primarily from British and Irish people. The concept is mainly relevant outside of Great Britain Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of continental Europe. With ...
, referring to the peoples from which the majority of the island group's population are descended—the
Anglo-Saxons The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group Cultural identity is a part of a person's identity Identity may refer to: Social sciences * Identity (social science), personhood or group affiliation in psychology and sociology Group expression ...
and the
Celts The Celts (, see pronunciation of ''Celt'' for different usages) are. "CELTS location: Greater Europe time period: Second millennium B.C.E. to present ancestry: Celtic a collection of Indo-European peoples The Indo-European languages ar ...

Celts
(it can also be inclusive of the
Anglo-Normans The Anglo-Normans ( nrf, Anglo-Normaunds, ang, Engel-Norðmandisca) were the medieval ruling class in England, composed mainly of a combination of ethnic Anglo-Saxons The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group Cultural identity is a part of a ...
). :*
Islands of the North Atlantic IONA (Islands of the North Atlantic) is an acronym suggested in 1980 by Sir John Biggs-Davison to refer to a loose linkage of England, Wales, Scotland, Republic of Ireland, Ireland, the Isle of Man and Channel Islands, similar to the present day ...
is another suggested replacement term for ''British Isles'', without the same political connotations. However, its convolution and impracticality due to implying inclusion of fellow North Atlantic islands such as Iceland have made it unworkable and it has not come into common use. The term was used as part of the Strand 3 level of negotiations for the Belfast agreement. (Its acronym, IONA, is also the name of the small but historically important island of
Iona Iona ( gd, Ì Chaluim Chille (IPA: iːˈxaɫ̪ɯimˈçiʎə, sometimes simply ''Ì''; sco, Iona) is a small island in the Inner Hebrides off the Ross of Mull on the western coast of Scotland. It is mainly known for Iona Abbey, though there a ...

Iona
off the coast of Scotland.) :* Great Britain and Ireland, or ''Britain and Ireland'' are also used as alternatives to the term
British Isles The British Isles are a group of islands in the North Atlantic off the north-western coast of continental Europe Continental Europe or mainland Europe is the contiguous continent A continent is any of several large landmasse ...

British Isles
. *
British Islands The British Islands is a term within the law of the United Kingdom which since 1889 has referred collectively to the following four polities: * the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (formerly the United Kingdom of Great Br ...

British Islands
(a legal term not in common usage) is the UK, the Isle of Man, and the Channel Islands. *
Brittany Brittany (; french: link=no, Bretagne ; br, Breizh, or ; Gallo: ''Bertaèyn'' ) is a peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from ' "almost" and ' "island") is a landform surrounded by water on most of its border while being connected to ...
, itself a corruption of ''Britain'', and sometimes formerly known as ''Little Britain'' is a historical
Duchy A duchy, also called a dukedom, is a medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affair ...
in the West of
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses ...

France
, now a French region; for this modern administrative sense, see
Brittany (administrative region) Brittany (; french: link=no, Bretagne ; br, Breizh, or ; Gallo: ''Bertaèyn'' ) is a peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from 'almost' and 'island') is a landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of the solid surface ...
.


Geographical distinctions


The British Isles


Great Britain


Ireland


Isle of Man


Channel Islands


Political terms in more detail


The United Kingdom

''The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland'' is the official full title of the state. This name appears on official documentation such as
British passport A British passport is a travel document issued by the United Kingdom or other British Crown dependencies, dependencies and British Overseas Territories, territories to individuals holding any form of British nationality. It grants the bearer in ...
s. For convenience, the name is usually shortened to ''United Kingdom'', ''UK'' or ''Britain''. The ''United Kingdom'' is a
sovereign state A sovereign state is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized social relation, social relatio ...
. Its four constituent countries are sometimes considered to be of different status. This view may be supported by the existence of
devolved Devolution is the statutory delegation of powers from the central government A central government is the government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), st ...
governments with different levels of power in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales (see
Asymmetrical federalism Asymmetric federalism or asymmetrical federalism is found in a federation A federation (also known as a federal state) is a political entity characterized by a union of partially self-governing provinces, states, or other regions under ...
). Wales is also often erroneously described as a
principality A principality (or sometimes princedom) can either be a monarchical A monarchy is a form of government in which a person, the monarch, is head of state for life or until abdication. The legitimacy (political)#monarchy, political le ...
of the United Kingdom. The title of
Prince of Wales Prince of Wales ( cy, Tywysog Cymru, ) is a title traditionally and ceremonially granted to the heir apparent An heir apparent is a person who is first in an order of succession An order of succession or right of succession is the line o ...

Prince of Wales
is usually given to the
heir apparent An heir apparent is a person who is first in an order of succession An order of succession or right of succession is the line of individuals entitled to hold a high office when it becomes vacated such as head of state A head of state ...
to the
British throne The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional monarchy, constitutional form of government by which a hereditary monarchy, hereditary sovereign reigns as the head of state of the United ...
but it has no political or other role in respect of Wales. The
International Organization for Standardisation The International Organization for Standardization (ISO ) is an international standard-setting body composed of representatives from various national standards organizations. Founded on 23 February 1947, the organization develops and publish ...
(ISO) has defined Wales as a "country" rather than a "principality" since 2011, following a recommendation by the
British Standards Institute The British Standards Institution (BSI) is the national standards body of the United Kingdom. BSI produces technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task which is ap ...
and the
Welsh Government The Welsh Government ( cy, Llywodraeth Cymru) is the Devolution in the United Kingdom, devolved government of Wales. The government consists of ministers, who attend cabinet meetings, and Minister (government), deputy ministers who do not, and als ...
.
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster-ScotsUlster Scots, also known as Scotch-Irish, may refer to: * Ulster Scots people The Ulster Scots (Ulster-Scots The Ulster Scots (Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster- ...

Northern Ireland
is sometimes described by
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
citizens as a
province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, are g ...

province
of the United Kingdom, which derives from the Irish
province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, are g ...

province
of
Ulster Ulster (; ga, Ulaidh or ''Cúige Uladh'' ; sco, label=Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster Scots, Ulstèr or ''Ulster'') is one of the four traditional Irish provinces of Ireland, provinces, in the north of Ireland. It is made up of nine Counties ...

Ulster
, of which
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster-ScotsUlster Scots, also known as Scotch-Irish, may refer to: * Ulster Scots people The Ulster Scots (Ulster-Scots The Ulster Scots (Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster- ...

Northern Ireland
is a part. Northern Ireland also had, until 1972, a far greater degree of
self-government __NOTOC__ Self-governance, self-government, or self-rule is the ability of a person or group to exercise all necessary functions of regulation without intervention from an external authority (sociology), authority. It may refer to personal con ...
than the other constituent parts of the UK. ''Great Britain'' is both a geographical and a political entity. Geographically, it is one island, but as a political entity it also includes the smaller offshore islands that are administered as part of its constituent nations – England, Wales and Scotland – such as England's
Isle of Wight The Isle of Wight () is a Counties of England, county and the List of islands of England, largest and second-most populous island of England. It is in the English Channel, between two and five miles off the coast of Hampshire, from which it is ...

Isle of Wight
, Wales'
Anglesey Anglesey (; cy, Ynys Môn ), an island off the north-west coast of Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individua ...
and Scotland's
Inner Hebrides The Inner Hebrides (; Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig ), also known as Scots Gaelic and Gaelic, is a Goidelic language The Goidelic or Gaelic languages ( ga, teangacha Gaelacha; gd, cànanan Goidhealach; gv, çhen ...

Inner Hebrides
,
Outer Hebrides The Outer Hebrides () or Western Isles ( gd, Na h-Eileanan Siar or ; sco, Waster Isles), sometimes known as ("islands of the strangers") or the Long Isle/Long Island ( gd, An t-Eilean Fada, links=no), is an island chain off the west coast ...
,
Orkney Islands Orkney (; sco, Orkney; on, Orkneyjar; nrn, Orknøjar), also known as the Orkney Islands, is an archipelago in the Northern Isles of Scotland, situated off the north coast of the island of Great Britain. Orkney is 10 miles (16 km) north ...

Orkney Islands
and
Shetland Islands Shetland ( on, Hjaltland; sco, Shetland; nrn, Hjetland), also called the Shetland Islands and formerly Zetland, is a subarctic archipelago in the Northern Atlantic, between Great Britain, the Faroe Islands and Norway. It is the northernmos ...
. The abbreviation ''GB'' is sometimes officially used for the United Kingdom, for example in the
Olympics The modern Olympic Games or Olympics (french: Jeux olympiques) are leading international sporting events featuring summer and winter sports competitions in which thousands of athletes An athlete (also sportsman or sportswoman) is a pe ...
, or as the
vehicle registration plate A vehicle registration plate, also known as a number plate (British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in Histor ...
country identification code for UK-registered cars ''(see also
British car number plates Vehicle registration plates (commonly referred to as "number plates" in British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spok ...

British car number plates
)''. ''SCO'' for Scotland, ''CYM'' for Wales (Cymru), ''NI'' for Northern Ireland, or ''ENG'' for England can also be used. From 28 September 2021, UK will be the official country code on car registration plates. The internet code ''
.gb .gb is a reserved Internet The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks and devices. It is a ''internetworking, netw ...
,'' although allocated to the UK, is virtually unused and UK web domains use ''
.uk .uk is the Internet The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks and devices. It is a ''internetworking, network of ne ...
''. Though is the United Kingdom's ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 code, is ISO 3166-1 alpha-2#Exceptional reservations, exceptionally reserved for the United Kingdom on the request of the country. The four constituent parts of the UK are also known, particularly in sporting contexts, as ''Home Nations'' or the "Four Nations". The BBC refers to its UK-wide broadcasting operation as ''Nations and Regions'' ("regions" referring to geographic regions of England. Thus the naming conventions tend towards describing distinct ''regions'' or ''nations'' which exist within a single sovereign ''state''. In sport, the home nations mostly have their own separate national teams – England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, for example in
association football Association football, more commonly known as simply football or soccer, is a team sport A team sport includes any sport Sport pertains to any form of Competition, competitive physical activity or game that aims to use, maintain ...
. Sporting contests between the Four Nations are known as "Home internationals" (an example is the British Home Championship in football). The governing body for football in Northern Ireland is called the Irish Football Association (the IFA), having been in existence since some forty years before Partition of Ireland, Partition. Its counterpart in the Republic (plus Derry City FC) is the Football Association of Ireland (the FAI). The Northern Ireland national football team, Northern Ireland national team retained the name "Ireland" for some fifty years after partition. Since around 1970 the two teams have been consistently referred to as "Northern Ireland" and "Republic of Ireland national football team, Republic of Ireland" respectively. The UK competes as Great Britain at the Olympic Games. According to the Olympic Charter the Olympic Council of Ireland represents the entire island of Ireland. Olympic athletes from Northern Ireland may choose whether to represent the UK or the
Republic of Ireland Ireland ( ga, Éire ), also known as the Republic of Ireland ('), is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective id ...

Republic of Ireland
. Since the Good Friday Agreement and the subsequent implementation legislation, sporting organisation (and several other organisations, e.g. Tourism in Ireland, tourism, Irish Gaelic and Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster Scots language boards) on the island of Ireland has increasingly been cross-border. Citizens of the UK are called ''British'', ''Britons'', ''Brits'', (colloquial) or ''Britisher'' (archaic). The term ''Unionists'' may also be used when referring to supporters of the Acts of Union 1707, Union. Some older slang names for Britons are ''Tommy'' (for British soldiers) and ''Anglo''. Anglo properly refers only to England, but it is sometimes used as a broader reference as an element in compound adjectives: for example, "Anglo-French relations" may be used in newspaper articles when referring to relations between the political entities
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses ...

France
and the United Kingdom. ''Anglo-Saxon'' may be used (particularly in Continental European languages) when referring to the whole English-speaking world.


Ireland

Since the adoption of the Constitution of Ireland in 1937, ''
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Great Britain and Ireland), North Channel, the Irish Sea ...

Ireland
'' has been the English (language), English name of the state which covers approximately five-sixths of the island of
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Great Britain and Ireland), North Channel, the Irish Sea ...

Ireland
. The name ''
Éire () is Irish language, Irish for "Ireland", the name of Ireland, an island and Republic of Ireland, a sovereign state occupying most of the island (26 of the 32 counties), Names of the Irish state, officially named Ireland in English, and ofte ...
'' is used when writing in Irish (language), Irish. Since the
Republic of Ireland Act 1948 The Republic of Ireland Act 1948 (No. 22 of 1948) is an Act of the Oireachtas The Oireachtas ( , ), sometimes referred to as Oireachtas Éireann, is the legislature A legislature is a deliberative assembly with the authority In the ...
, the term "Republic of Ireland" is the term used as the additional ''description'' of the state. This term is useful in avoiding ambiguity between the name of the island and the name of the state. However, the term "Ireland" is always used in formal diplomatic contexts such as the European Union or the United Nations. The passport of the Republic of Ireland bears the name ''Éire – Ireland''. Before the introduction of the 1937 constitution and the new name, the
Irish Free State The Irish Free State ( ga, Saorstát Éireann, , ; 6 December 192229 December 1937) was a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of St ...
occupied the same territory as the modern state of Ireland. The Irish Free State became an autonomous dominion of the British Empire in 1922 when it seceded from the United Kingdom through the Anglo-Irish Treaty. The King ceased to be its Head of State Executive Authority (External Relations) Act 1936, in 1936 and the state ceased to be a Dominion and left the Commonwealth Republic of Ireland Act 1948, in 1948. Traditionally, the island of Ireland is divided into four
provinces A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, are g ...

provinces
– Leinster, Connacht, Munster and
Ulster Ulster (; ga, Ulaidh or ''Cúige Uladh'' ; sco, label=Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster Scots, Ulstèr or ''Ulster'') is one of the four traditional Irish provinces of Ireland, provinces, in the north of Ireland. It is made up of nine Counties ...

Ulster
, with each of the provinces further divided into counties. The Republic of Ireland takes up 83% of the island, twenty-six of the thirty-two traditional counties of Ireland. Northern Ireland takes up the remaining area, six of the traditional nine counties of Ulster. In Northern Ireland, Irishness is a highly contested identity, with fundamentally different perceptions of national identity between unionists (who generally perceive themselves as being British) and nationalists (who generally consider both communities to be part of the Irish nation). The Republic of Ireland is often referred to by the Irish nationalists, Nationalist and Irish Republicans, Republican communities by the term "the Twenty-six Counties", with the connotation that the state constituted as such forms only a portion of the ideal political unit of the
Irish Republic The Irish Republic ( ga, Poblacht na hÉireann or ) was an unrecognised revolutionary state that declared its independence from the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the Unite ...

Irish Republic
, which would consist of all of the Counties of Ireland, thirty-two counties into which the island is divided. The term "the Six Counties" (of Northern Ireland) is also used. Other Nationalist terms in use include "the North of Ireland" and "the North". These latter are terms also used by the Irish national broadcaster Raidió Teilifís Éireann, RTÉ. More extreme terms for Northern Ireland include "the occupied six counties" or "occupied Ireland", which are often used by people who reject the idea of Northern Ireland as a separate entity from the Republic of Ireland. The Irish passport is available to Irish citizens and can also be applied for abroad through Irish Consular services and the local Irish Embassy. As per the Irish nationality law, any person born on the island of Ireland before 2005, or otherwise a first generation descendant of such a person, is allowed to apply for an Irish passport. As such, people born in Northern Ireland and their children may be Irish citizens and hold an Irish passport if they choose.


British Islands

Under the Interpretation Act 1978 of the United Kingdom, the legal term
British Islands The British Islands is a term within the law of the United Kingdom which since 1889 has referred collectively to the following four polities: * the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (formerly the United Kingdom of Great Br ...

British Islands
(as opposed to the geographical term ''British Isles'') refers to the
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
, together with the Crown dependencies: the Bailiwicks of
Jersey Jersey ( , ; nrf, label=Jèrriais, Jèrri ), officially the Bailiwick of Jersey (french: Bailliage de Jersey, links=no; Jèrriais: ''Bailliage dé Jèrri''), is an island and self-governing Crown dependencies, Crown Dependency near the coa ...

Jersey
and of Bailiwick of Guernsey, Guernsey (which in turn includes the smaller islands of Alderney, Herm and Sark) in the
Channel Islands The Channel Islands ( nrf, Îles d'la Manche; french: îles Anglo-Normandes or ''îles de la Manche'') are an archipelago in the English Channel, off the French coast of Normandy. They include two Crown Dependencies: the Jersey, Bailiwick of ...

Channel Islands
; and the
Isle of Man ) , anthem = " O Land of Our Birth" , image = Isle of Man by Sentinel-2.jpg , image_map = Europe-Isle_of_Man.svg , mapsize = 290px , map_alt = Location of the Isle of Man in Europe , map_caption = Location of the Isle of Man (green) in E ...

Isle of Man
. Special British passports are issued to citizens of the Crown dependencies. On the front of passports issued to residents of the Crown dependencies, the words ''"United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland"'' are replaced with the name of the issuing state or island. Pre-Brexit, Crown dependency also bore the title ''"European Union"'' for border control purposes. Crown dependency citizens who have no family ties to the United Kingdom were granted a special limited 'Islander Status' under EU law (article 6 of Protocol 3 in the Treaty of Accession 1972, Treaty of Accession of the UK to the European Community).


Historical aspects

Some suggest an early known for the term might be from ancient Greece, ancient Greek writings. Though some of the original texts have been lost, excerpts were quoted or paraphrased by later authors. Parts of the Massaliote Periplus, a merchants' handbook describing searoutes of the sixth century BC, were used in translation in the writings of Avienius around AD 400. Ireland was referred to as ''Ierne'' (''Insula sacra'', the ''sacred island'', as the Greeks interpreted it) "inhabited by the race of ''Hiberni''" (''gens hiernorum''), and Britain as ''insula Albionum'', "island of the Albions". Several sources from around 150 BC to AD 70 include fragments of the travel writings of the ancient Greek Pytheas around 320 BC, use the terms ''Albion'' and ''Ierne''Greek language, Greek , and have been described as referring to the British Isles, including Ireland, as the ''Prettanic'' or ''Brettanic Islands'' () or as , literally "the Britains". Greek writers called the peoples of these islands the , later (alternative spellings of this and of all relative words have a single tau or a double Nu (letter), nu), a name that possibly corresponds to the ''Priteni''. These names may have derived from a "Celtic languages, Celtic language" term which may have reached Pytheas from the Gauls who may have used it as their term for the inhabitants of the islands. The Romans called the inhabitants of Gaul (modern
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses ...

France
) ''Galli'' or ''Celtae'', the latter term deriving from the Greek name for a central European people. Antiquarians of the seventeenth century who found language connections developed the idea of a race of Celts inhabiting the islands, but this term was not used by the Greeks or Romans for the inhabitants of Britain or Ireland, nor is there any record of the inhabitants of the British Isles referring to themselves as such. Nevertheless, Roman administration later incorporated the province of Britannia into the praetorian prefecture of Gaul, in common with Hispania, which had Celtiberians. Armorica, where the Bretons would settle, was part of ''Gallia Celtica'', so there were tertiary relations between the Britons and Gallic Celts at least. In addition, the Parisii (Gaul), Parisii of Gallia Celtica are thought to have founded Aldborough in Britain. Belgae and Silures also came from Gallic areas, although not strictly "Celtic", but from ''Gallia Belgica'' and ''Aquitainia''. ''Priteni'' is the source of the Welsh language term Prydain, ''Britain'', and has the same source as the Goidelic languages, Goidelic term Cruithne (people), Cruithne. The latter referred to the early Brythonic languages, Brythonic speaking inhabitants of the Scottish highlands and the north of Scotland, who are known as the Cruithne in Scottish Gaelic, and who the Ancient Rome, Romans called Picts or Caledonians.


Romans

Caesar's invasions of Britain brought descriptions of the peoples of what he called ''Britannia pars interior'', "inland Britain", in 55 BC. Throughout Book 4 of his ''Geography'', Strabo is consistent in spelling the island Britain (transliterated) as ''Prettanikē''; he uses the terms ''Prettans'' or ''Brettans'' loosely to refer to the islands as a group – a common generalisation used by classical geographers. For example, in Geography 2.1.18, ''…οι νοτιώτατοι των Βρεττανών βορειότεροι τούτων εισίν'' ("…the most southern of the Brettans are further north than this").Translation by Roseman, ''op.cit.'' He was writing around AD 10, although the earliest surviving copy of his work dates from the 6th century. Pliny the Elder writing around AD 70 uses a Latin version of the same terminology in section 4.102 of his ''Pliny's Natural History, Naturalis Historia''. He writes of Great Britain: ''Albion ipsi nomen fuit, cum Britanniae vocarentur omnes de quibus mox paulo dicemus.'' ("Albion was its own name, when all [the islands] were called the Britannias; I will speak of them in a moment"). In the following section, 4.103, Pliny enumerates the islands he considers to make up the Britannias, listing Great Britain, Ireland, and many smaller islands. In his ''Geography'' written in the mid 2nd century and probably describing the position around AD 100, Ptolemy includes both Great Britain (Albion) and Ireland (Hibernia, Iwernia) in the so called ''Bretanic'' island group. He entitles Book II, Chapter 1 of as ''Hibernia, Iwernia, Bretanic Island'', and Chapter 2 as ''Alwion [sic], Bretanic Island''. The name ''Albion'' for
Great Britain Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of continental Europe. With an area of , it is the largest of the British Isles, the List of European islands by area, largest European island, and the List of i ...

Great Britain
fell from favour, and the island was described in Greek as Πρεττανία or Βρεττανία, in Latin ''Britannia'', an inhabitant as Βρεττανός, ''Britannus'', with the adjective Βρεττανικός, ''Britannicus'', equating to "British". With the Roman conquest of Britain the name Britannia was used for the province of Roman Britain. The Emperor Claudius was honoured with the Roman naming convention, agnomen ''Britannicus'' as if he were the conqueror, and coins were struck from AD 46 inscribed DE BRITAN, DE BRITANN, DE BRITANNI, or DE BRITANNIS. With the visit of Hadrian in AD 121 coins introduced a female figure with the label BRITANNIA as a personification or goddess of the place. These and later Roman coins introduced the seated figure of Britannia which would be reintroduced in the 17th century. In the later years of Roman rule Britons who left Latin inscriptions, both at home and elsewhere in the Empire, often described themselves as ''Brittanus'' or ''Britto'', and where describing their citizenship gave it as ''cives'' of a British tribe or of a ''patria'' (homeland) of ''Britannia'', not ''Roma''. From the 4th century, many Britons migrated from Roman Britain across the English Channel and founded
Brittany Brittany (; french: link=no, Bretagne ; br, Breizh, or ; Gallo: ''Bertaèyn'' ) is a peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from ' "almost" and ' "island") is a landform surrounded by water on most of its border while being connected to ...
.


Mediaeval period

While Latin remained the language of learning, from the early mediaeval period records begin to appear in native languages. The earliest indigenous peoples, indigenous source to use a collective term for the archipelago is the ''Life of Saint Columba'', a hagiography recording the missionary activities of the sixth century Irish monk Saint Columba among the peoples of what is now Scotland. It was written in the late seventh century by Adomnán of Iona, an Irish monk living on the Inner Hebridean island. The collective term for the archipelago used within this work is Oceani Insulae meaning "Islands of the Ocean" (Book 2, 46 in the Sharpe edition = Book 2, 47 in Reeves edition), it is used sparingly and no ''Priteni''-derived collective reference is made. Another early native source to use a collective term is the ''Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum'' of Bede written in the early eighth century. The collective term for the archipelago used within this work is ''insularum'' meaning "islands" (Book 1, 8) and it too is used sparingly. He stated that Britain "studies and confesses one and the same knowledge of the highest truth in the tongues of five nations, namely the Angles, the Britons, the Scots, the Picts, and the Latins", distinguishing between the Brythonic languages of the "ancient Britons" or Old Welsh speakers and other language groups. Britons (Celtic people), Brythonic, Anglo-Saxons, Saxon and Viking kingdoms such as Kingdom of Strathclyde, Strathclyde, Wessex, and Scandinavian York, Jórvík amalgamated, leading to the formation of
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba Alba (Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to simply as Gaelic) is a Goidelic language (in the Celtic languages, Celtic branch of the Indo-European ...

Scotland
, and
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. E ...

England
.
Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the Wales–England border, east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, and the Bristol Channel to the south. It ...

Wales
was sometimes united under princes or kings such as Gruffydd ap Llywelyn. Between 854 and 1171, a kingship of Ireland was established by kings of the regional kingdoms such as Máel Sechnaill mac Máele Ruanaid, Toirdelbach Ua Briain, Muirchertach Mac Lochlainn, and Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair, something not achieved in Britain until 1707. In subsequent Norman Ireland, local lords gained considerable autonomy from the Lordship of Ireland until it became the
Kingdom of Ireland The Kingdom of Ireland ( ga, label=Early Modern Irish, Classical Irish, an Ríoghacht Éireann; ga, label=Irish language#Towards a standard Irish – An Caighdeán Oifigiúil, Modern Irish, an Ríocht Éireann, ) was a client state of Kingdo ...

Kingdom of Ireland
under direct English rule.


Renaissance mapmakers

Abraham Ortelius makes clear his understanding that England, Scotland and Ireland were politically separate in 1570 by the full title of his map: ''Angliae, Scotiae et Hiberniae, sive Britannicar. insularum descriptio'' ('A representation of England, Scotland and Ireland, or the Britannic islands'). George Lily's 1546 map divides Britain into the two kingdoms of England and Scotland, with Ireland alongside. Some maps from this period also appear to mark Wales, and sometimes Cornwall, as separate areas within Britain, while the history of England created by Polydore Vergil for Henry VIII states, "The whole country of Britain is divided into four parts, whereof the one is inhabited by Englishmen, the other of Scots, the third Welshmen and the fourth of Cornish people." Maps of the Mediaeval, Renaissance and later periods often referred to ''Albion''. This archaic term was originally used by Ptolemy and Pliny the Elder, Pliny to mean the island of Great Britain. In later centuries its meaning changed to refer only to the area we now call Scotland (''Albany'', or ''Alba'' in Scottish Gaelic language, Gaelic). ''Albion'' has survived as a poetic name for Britain but it is not in everyday use.


18th and 19th centuries

Following the Acts of Union 1707, a fashion arose, particularly in Scotland, for referring to Scotland as ''North Britain'', while England was sometimes dubbed ''South Britain''. These terms gained in popularity during the 19th century. The most lasting example of this usage was in the name of the North British Railway, which became part of the London and North Eastern Railway in 1923, and in the name of the North British Hotel in Edinburgh, opened by the North British Railway in 1902, which retained the name until it reopened in 1991 as The Balmoral.


Evolution of kingdoms and states

The diagram on the right gives an indication of the further evolution of kingdoms and states. In 1603, James VI and I, James VI of Scotland inherited the English throne as "James I of England". He styled himself as ''King of Great Britain, France, and Ireland'', although both kingdoms on Great Britain retained their sovereignty and independent parliaments, the Parliament of Scotland and the Parliament of England. (The term "Great Britain" in English itself dates from Middle English as early as , a translation of 12th-century and or and derived from Ptolemy's ''Geography (Ptolemy), Geography''.) The Act of Union 1707, Act of Union (1707) united England and Scotland to form the
Kingdom of Great Britain The Kingdom of Great Britain, officially called Great Britain,"After the political union of England and Scotland in 1707, the nation's official name became 'Great Britain'", ''The American Pageant, Volume 1'', Cengage Learning (2012) was a s ...

Kingdom of Great Britain
under the Parliament of Great Britain, then in 1800 Ireland was brought under British government control by the Act of Union 1800, Act of Union (1800) creating the
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was a sovereign state A sovereign state is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some f ...

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
. Irish unrest culminated in the Anglo-Irish War, Irish War of Independence and the 1922 separation of the
Irish Free State The Irish Free State ( ga, Saorstát Éireann, , ; 6 December 192229 December 1937) was a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of St ...
, which later became a republic with the name Ireland. The majority Protestant Northern Ireland, northeast continued to be part of what became the
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shortha ...

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
. British overseas territories such as Bermuda, Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands have various relationships with the UK. The Commonwealth of Nations, initially formalised in 1931 (the British Commonwealth until 1949), is an association of independent states roughly corresponding to the former British Empire. (This has no connection with the Commonwealth of England, a short-lived republic replacing the previous kingdoms during the English Interregnum (1649–1660).)


Slang

''Blighty'' is a slang word for Britain derived from the Bengali language, Bengali word . Depending on the user, it is meant either affectionately or archly. It was often used by British soldiers abroad in the First World War to refer to home.


Adjectives

The adjectives used to describe the contents and attributes of the various constituent parts of the British Isles also cause confusion. In the absence of a single adjective to refer to the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
, ''British'' is generally used to refer to the United Kingdom as a whole. However, in a specifically physical geographical sense, ''British'' is used to refer to the island of
Great Britain Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of continental Europe. With an area of , it is the largest of the British Isles, the List of European islands by area, largest European island, and the List of i ...

Great Britain
. The adjectival phrase ''Great British'' is very rarely used to refer to the island, other than to contrive a pun on the word ''great'', as in "Great British Food". ''Irish'', refers to people or a characteristic "of Ireland". As such, its meaning is contextual on the meaning of "Ireland" being used: it can relate both to the Republic of Ireland, Irish state, and to the Ireland (island), island of Ireland.
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster-ScotsUlster Scots, also known as Scotch-Irish, may refer to: * Ulster Scots people The Ulster Scots (Ulster-Scots The Ulster Scots (Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster- ...

Northern Ireland
, as a constituent part of the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
, can thus be both ''British'' or ''Irish'', reflected in the ability for residents of Northern Ireland to take either British or Irish citizenship. To be more specific, ''Northern Irish'' is therefore in common usage. Members of the Irish Nationalism, Nationalist communities would not describe themselves as ''British'' and would only use the terms ''Irish'', or specifically ''Northern Irish'' where needed. The term ''Ulster'' can also be used as an adjective (e.g. "Royal Ulster Constabulary"), but this is more likely to be used by Unionists (Ireland), Unionists and has political connotations in the same fashion as its use as a proper noun. The term ''Ulsterman'' (or ''Ulsterwoman'') is common and holds no such political connotation. Likewise, Irish nationalism, Nationalists might describe, say, a lake in Northern Ireland as ''Irish''. Note that the geographical term Irish Sea thus far appears to have escaped political connotations, even though territorial control of the waters of the Irish Sea is divided between both the Republic of Ireland and the UK, and also includes a British Crown dependency, the
Isle of Man ) , anthem = " O Land of Our Birth" , image = Isle of Man by Sentinel-2.jpg , image_map = Europe-Isle_of_Man.svg , mapsize = 290px , map_alt = Location of the Isle of Man in Europe , map_caption = Location of the Isle of Man (green) in E ...

Isle of Man
—as yet there appears to be no controversy with the term’s usage to mirror that of "British Isles".


Problems with the use of terms


British Isles

The dictionary definition of the
British Isles The British Isles are a group of islands in the North Atlantic off the north-western coast of continental Europe Continental Europe or mainland Europe is the contiguous continent A continent is any of several large landmasse ...

British Isles
is that it is a geographical term that refers to the whole of
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Great Britain and Ireland), North Channel, the Irish Sea ...

Ireland
and
Great Britain Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of continental Europe. With an area of , it is the largest of the British Isles, the List of European islands by area, largest European island, and the List of i ...

Great Britain
as well as the surrounding islands. It is sometimes incorrectly used as if identical to the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
, or to refer to Great Britain and the surrounding islands, excluding the island of
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Great Britain and Ireland), North Channel, the Irish Sea ...

Ireland
entirely. The BBC and ''The Times'' have style guides that mandate the dictionary definition but occasional misuse can be found on their websites. The term ''British Isles'' can also be considered irritating or offensive by some on the grounds that the modern association of the term ''British'' with the United Kingdom makes its application to Ireland inappropriate. The term can also be considered to imply a proprietary title on the entire archipelago. The policy of the government of Ireland is that no branch of government should use the term, and although it is on occasion used in a geographical sense in Irish parliamentary debates, this is often done in a way that excludes the Republic of Ireland. In October 2006, ''The Times'' quoted a spokesman for the Irish Embassy in London as saying that they would discourage its use. During a stop-over visit to the Republic of Ireland in 1989, the leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, indicated that he assumed Ireland's head of state was Queen Elizabeth II, given that she was the monarch of the United Kingdom, British Queen and his officials said that Ireland was a part of the British Isles. There have been several suggestions for replacements for the term ''British Isles''. Although there is no single accepted replacement, the terms ''Great Britain and Ireland'', ''The British Isles and Ireland'' and ''Britain and Ireland'' are all used. In
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster-ScotsUlster Scots, also known as Scotch-Irish, may refer to: * Ulster Scots people The Ulster Scots (Ulster-Scots The Ulster Scots (Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster- ...

Northern Ireland
, some Irish nationalism, nationalists use ''these islands'' or ''these isles'' as an alternative.


Britain

The word ''Britain'' is ambiguous, being used variously to mean Great Britain, the United Kingdom, and for some, England. The usage of ''Britain'' can be contentious, with many people in Northern Ireland objecting to its application to their region. While some organisations, including the BBC, prefer to use ''Britain'' as shorthand for Great Britain, others prefer, where precision is not required, to use ''Britain'' to mean the United Kingdom. The UK Government itself states a preference for using ''the UK'' over ''Britain'' in its style guide, but does not describe the latter as incorrect, and says elsewhere that "it is only the one specific nominal term "Great Britain", which invariably excludes Northern Ireland."


England

The word ''England'' is often used synecdoche, synecdochically to refer to
Great Britain Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of continental Europe. With an area of , it is the largest of the British Isles, the List of European islands by area, largest European island, and the List of i ...

Great Britain
, or the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
as a whole, or sometimes the
British Isles The British Isles are a group of islands in the North Atlantic off the north-western coast of continental Europe Continental Europe or mainland Europe is the contiguous continent A continent is any of several large landmasse ...

British Isles
."When people say England, they sometimes mean Great Britain, sometimes the United Kingdom, sometimes the British Isles — but never England." — "In practice, many people outside of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland incorrectly use 'England' to mean Britain..." p. 208 – References to England as an island, to an "English passport", or to Scottish or Welsh places as being in England are examples of this usage of the term "England". Such usage often causes offence, particularly to those from the non-English parts of the United Kingdom. Because of this, most politicians and official figures have avoided this usage since the early 20th century. However, there are frequent examples of this usage from earlier times.England expects that every man will do his duty — Horatio Nelson, message to the British Fleet 1805 "The more formal use of 'Great-Britain and Ireland' and colloquial use of 'Old England' and 'old English spirit' in this description is evidence of the process of forging a national identity..." page 99 — For a long time it was common for fans of the England national football team, England football team to wave the British Union Jack; the use of the specifically English St George's Cross flag only gained popularity at the UEFA Euro 1996 tournament. The colloquial usage of ''England'' as a synonym for the United Kingdom is still widespread outside the country. In Germany, the term ''England'' is often used to mean Great Britain or even the entire United Kingdom (as in the anti-British sentiment, anti-British slogan ''Gott strafe England''). In many other languages, such as Chinese language, Chinese or Hindi the word for "English" is synonymous with "British"–see the article on Alternative words for British#Other languages, Alternative words for British for more detail.


Europe

The term ''Europe'' may be used in one of several different contexts by British and Irish people: either to refer to the whole of the European continent, to refer to only to Mainland Europe, sometimes called "continental Europe" or simply "the Continent" by some people in the archipelago. ''Europe'' may also be used in reference to the European Union (or, historically, to the European Economic Community). A comedic treatment of the different uses of this word appears in an episode of the BBC sitcom ''To the Manor Born''. When tradesmen are taking measurements in metric, and Audrey fforbes-Hamilton objects because the house was built "in feet and inches", a tradesman says "We're in Europe now", referring to the European Economic Community. Audrey fforbes-Hamilton retorts "Well you may be, but I'm staying here!" - implying that to her, the word "Europe" referred only to mainland Europe, excluding the British Isles.


Great Britain

The word "Great" means "larger", in comparison with
Brittany Brittany (; french: link=no, Bretagne ; br, Breizh, or ; Gallo: ''Bertaèyn'' ) is a peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from ' "almost" and ' "island") is a landform surrounded by water on most of its border while being connected to ...
in modern-day
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses ...

France
. One historical term for the peninsula in France that largely corresponds to the modern French province is ''Lesser'' or ''Little Britain''. That region was settled by many British immigrants during the period of Anglo-Saxons, Anglo-Saxon migration into Britain, and named "Little Britain" by them. The French language, French term "Bretagne" now refers to the French "Little Britain", not to the British "Great Britain", which in French is called ''Grande-Bretagne''. In classical times, the Greco-Roman world, Graeco-Roman geographer Geography (Ptolemy), Ptolemy in his ''Almagest'' also called the larger island ''megale Brettania'' (great Britain). At that time, it was in contrast to the smaller island of
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Great Britain and Ireland), North Channel, the Irish Sea ...

Ireland
, which he called ''mikra Brettania'' (little Britain). In his later work ''Geography (Ptolemy), Geography'', Ptolemy refers to Great Britain as ''Albion'' and to Ireland as ''Hibernia, Iwernia''. These "new" names were likely to have been the native names for the islands at the time. The earlier names, Exonym and endonym, in contrast, were likely to have been coined before direct contact with local peoples was made.


Ireland

The word ''Ireland'' is also ambiguous, with the double meaning of the island of
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Great Britain and Ireland), North Channel, the Irish Sea ...

Ireland
and the
Republic of Ireland Ireland ( ga, Éire ), also known as the Republic of Ireland ('), is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective id ...

Republic of Ireland
. The usage of "Ireland" as the Constitution of Ireland, official name of the Republic causes offence to some unionists (Ireland), Unionists in
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster-ScotsUlster Scots, also known as Scotch-Irish, may refer to: * Ulster Scots people The Ulster Scots (Ulster-Scots The Ulster Scots (Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster- ...

Northern Ireland
, who believe it implies that the state Nineteenth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland, still has a territorial claim to the whole island – the terminology of "Republic of Ireland" or "
Éire () is Irish language, Irish for "Ireland", the name of Ireland, an island and Republic of Ireland, a sovereign state occupying most of the island (26 of the 32 counties), Names of the Irish state, officially named Ireland in English, and ofte ...
" is much preferred by Northern Irish unionists when referring to that political state. Similarly, some Nationalists (Ireland), Nationalists in Northern Ireland also prefer to reserve the usage of "Ireland" to refer to the whole island.


Ulster

The terminology and usage of the name ''Ulster'' in Irish and British culture varies. Many within the unionist (Ireland), unionist community and much of the press refer to
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster-ScotsUlster Scots, also known as Scotch-Irish, may refer to: * Ulster Scots people The Ulster Scots (Ulster-Scots The Ulster Scots (Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster- ...

Northern Ireland
as ''Ulster''whereas the Irish nationalism, nationalist community refer to the traditional Provinces of Ireland, Irish province of
Ulster Ulster (; ga, Ulaidh or ''Cúige Uladh'' ; sco, label=Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster Scots, Ulstèr or ''Ulster'') is one of the four traditional Irish provinces of Ireland, provinces, in the north of Ireland. It is made up of nine Counties ...

Ulster
, which is a nine-county entity that incorporates the three counties of County Donegal, Donegal, County Cavan, Cavan and County Monaghan, Monaghan (which are in the Republic) along with the counties of County Armagh, Armagh, County Antrim, Antrim, County Down, Down, County Fermanagh, Fermanagh, County Londonderry, Londonderry and County Tyrone, Tyrone in Northern Ireland. Thus, the word ''Ulster'' has two usages: # It is the name of Ulster, one of the four Provinces of Ireland, consisting of the nine northern counties of the island, that was partitioned between the United Kingdom (six counties) and the Republic of Ireland (three counties). # It is an alternative name for
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster-ScotsUlster Scots, also known as Scotch-Irish, may refer to: * Ulster Scots people The Ulster Scots (Ulster-Scots The Ulster Scots (Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster- ...

Northern Ireland
, used by many in the Irish Unionism, Unionist community. It consists of the six north-eastern counties of the island that remain part of the United Kingdom.


Further information


Isle of Man and Channel Islands

The Isle of Man and the two bailiwicks of the Channel Islands are Crown dependencies; that is, non-sovereign nations, self-governing but whose sovereignty is held by the British The Crown, Crown. They control their own internal affairs, but not their defence or foreign relations. They are not part of the United Kingdom, and were not part of the European Union when the UK was a member state. * The
Isle of Man ) , anthem = " O Land of Our Birth" , image = Isle of Man by Sentinel-2.jpg , image_map = Europe-Isle_of_Man.svg , mapsize = 290px , map_alt = Location of the Isle of Man in Europe , map_caption = Location of the Isle of Man (green) in E ...

Isle of Man
is part of the
British Isles The British Isles are a group of islands in the North Atlantic off the north-western coast of continental Europe Continental Europe or mainland Europe is the contiguous continent A continent is any of several large landmasse ...

British Isles
, situated in the Irish Sea between Great Britain and Ireland. * The
Channel Islands The Channel Islands ( nrf, Îles d'la Manche; french: îles Anglo-Normandes or ''îles de la Manche'') are an archipelago in the English Channel, off the French coast of Normandy. They include two Crown Dependencies: the Jersey, Bailiwick of ...

Channel Islands
consist politically of two self-governing bailiwicks: the Bailiwick of Guernsey and the Jersey, Bailiwick of Jersey. They are the remnants of the Duchy of Normandy, which was once in personal union with the Kingdom of England. They are sometimes, despite their location next to mainland
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses ...

France
, considered part of the British Isles. This usage is political rather than geographic. * The Isle of Man and the Channel Islands are
British Islands The British Islands is a term within the law of the United Kingdom which since 1889 has referred collectively to the following four polities: * the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (formerly the United Kingdom of Great Br ...

British Islands
in United Kingdom law.


Celtic names

There are five Celtic languages in current use in the region. Each has names for the islands and countries of the British Isles. They are divided into two branches: * Brythonic languages, Brythonic – which includes Welsh language, Welsh and Cornish language, Cornish * Goidelic languages, Goidelic – which includes Irish language, Irish, Scottish Gaelic language, Scottish Gaelic and Manx language, Manx Some of the above are: The English word ''Welsh'' is from a common Germanic languages, Germanic root meaning "Romanised foreigner" (cognate with Wallonia and Wallachia, and also cognate with the word used in Mediaeval German to refer to the French and Italy, Italians). The English names ''Albion'' and ''Scotland, Albany'' are related to ''Alba'' and used poetically for either England or Scotland, or the whole island of Great Britain. English ''Erin'' is a poetic name for Ireland derived from ''Éire'' (or rather, from its dative form ''Éirinn'').


Terms for the British Isles in the Irish language

In Irish, the term ''Oileáin Bhriotanacha'' is a translation of the English term ''British Isles''. Another translation is ''Oileáin Bhreataineacha'', which was used in the 1937 translation from English to Irish of a 1931 geography book. Earlier dictionariesPatrick S. Dinneen, ''Foclóir Gaeilge Béarla, Irish-English Dictionary'', Dublin, 1927 give ''Oileáin Iarthair Eorpa'' as the translation, literally meaning ''West European Isles''. Today the most common term ''Éire agus an Bhreatain Mhór'' is used, meaning, literally, ''Ireland and Great Britain'', as provided by terminological dictionaries.


See also

* Administrative geography of the United Kingdom * British–Irish Council * British and Irish Lions * British Overseas Territories * Glossary of names for the British


References


External links

* {{DEFAULTSORT:Terminology Of The British Isles Terminology of the British Isles, Geography of the British Isles Geopolitical terminology, British Isles Politics of the British Isles