A demonym (/ˈdɛmənɪm/; δῆμος dẽmos "people, tribe", ὄόνομα ónoma "name") is a word that identifies residents or natives of a particular place, which is derived from the name of that particular place.[1]

It is a neologism (i.e., a recently minted term); previously gentilic was recorded in English dictionaries, e.g., the Oxford English Dictionary and Chambers Twentieth Century Dictionary.[2][3][4]

Examples of demonyms include a Swahili for a person of the Swahili coast, the colloquial Kiwi for a person from New Zealand, and a Cochabambino for a person from the city of Cochabamba.

Demonyms do not always clearly distinguish place of origin or ethnicity from place of residence or citizenship, and many demonyms overlap with the ethnonym for the ethnically dominant group of a region. Thus a Thai may be any resident or citizen of Thailand of any ethnic group, or more narrowly a member of the Thai people.

Conversely, some groups of people may be associated with multiple demonyms. For example, a native of the United Kingdom may be called a British person, a Briton or, informally, a Brit. In some languages, when a parallel demonym does not exist, a demonym is borrowed from another language as a nickname or descriptive adjective of a group of people, i.e. "Québécois(e)" for a native of Quebec.

In English, demonyms are capitalized[5] and are often the same as the adjectival form of the place, e.g. Egyptian, Japanese, or Greek. Significant exceptions exist; for instance the adjectival form of Spain is "Spanish", but the demonym is "Spaniard".

English commonly uses national demonyms such as "Ethiopian" or "Guatemalan" and more local demonyms such as "Chicagoan", "Wisconsinite", or "Parisian".[6][7][8] Some places, especially smaller towns and cities, lack a commonly used and accepted demonym.

  1. ^ George H. Scheetz (1988). Names' Names: A Descriptive and Pervasive Onymicon. Schütz Verlag. 
  2. ^ "gentile, adj. and n.". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005.  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  3. ^ "gentile -- adj. of or belonging to a gens or clan; belonging to any nation but the Jews; (gram.) denoting a race or country"--Davidson, Thomas, ed. (1901) Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary of the English Language. London: W. & R. Chambers; p. 382
  4. ^ "gentile -- adj. of or belonging to a gens or clan; belonging to the Gentiles; (gram.) denoting a race or country"--Macdonald, A. M., ed. (1972) Chambers Twentieth Century Dictionary; new ed. Edinburgh: W. & R. Chambers; p. 544
  5. ^ "Gramática Inglesa. Adjetivos Gentilicios". 
  6. ^ "Google Ngram Viewer". 
  7. ^ "Google Ngram Viewer". 
  8. ^ "Google Ngram Viewer". 

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