Terminology of the British Isles
Various terms are used to describe the different (and sometimes overlapping) geographical and political areas of the islands of Great Britain, Ireland, and the smaller islands which surround them. The terminology is 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. In addition, many of the words carry both 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. However many of these classifications are contentious and have resulted in the British Isles naming dispute.
In brief, the main terms and their simple explanations are as follows.
- Geographical terms:
- The British Isles is a group of islands in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Continental Europe. It includes Ireland, Great Britain, the Isle of Man, Shetland, Orkney, and thousands of smaller islands. Traditionally the Channel Islands are included, though these specific islands are geographically closer to mainland continental Europe, being positioned off the French coast of Normandy. This, in part, has resulted in the term being disputed.Great Britain is the largest island of the archipelago.
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 list of Irish Isles.
The full list of islands in the British Isles includes over 6,000 islands, of which 51 have an area larger than 20 km².
- Political terms
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the constitutional monarchy 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. Usually, it is shortened to United Kingdom or the UK, though Britain is also an officially recognised short form. 'Great Britain' is sometimes used as a short form, and although technically incorrect 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 and Road Traffic Convention, as well as in the ISO 3166 country codes (GB and GBR).
Ireland is the sovereign republic occupying the larger portion of the island of Ireland. However, to distinguish the state from the island, or to distinguish either of these from Northern Ireland, it is also called "the Republic of Ireland" or simply "the Republic". Occasionally, its Irish-language name, Éire (or Eire without the diacritic), will be used in an English-language context to distinguish it from "Northern Ireland", even though the word Éire directly translates as "Ireland".
England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are the four countries of the United Kingdom though they are also referred to as the constituent countries or, especially in sporting contexts, home nations of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
England and Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland are legal jurisdictions within the United Kingdom.
Great Britain means the countries of England, Wales and Scotland considered as a unit.
British Islands consists of the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. These are the states within the British Isles that have the British monarch as head of state.
- Linguistic terms
The two sovereign states in the region, the United Kingdom and Ireland, are frequently referred to as countries. So too are England, Wales, Scotland and, to a lesser extent, Northern Ireland (as is the whole island of Ireland).
British is an adjective pertaining to the United Kingdom; for example, a citizen of the UK is called a British citizen - 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, although this has no modern constitutional basis.
Northern Ireland is often referred to as a province or called Ulster, after the traditional Irish province of Ulster in 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 and cricket – the island of Ireland competes as a nation; in others, most notably association football, 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.
Rugby union players from both Ireland and Great Britain play for British and Irish Lions representing the four "Home Unions" of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Great Britain is sometimes used to mean United Kingdom. For example, at the Olympic Games, the team called "Great Britain" represents Great Britain and Northern Ireland. However, athletes from Northern Ireland have, by virtue of 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 and athletics), at international level competitors are identified as GB if they are from Great Britain or Northern Ireland. A small number of sports (e.g. golf) identify participants as representing their constituent country. In the Commonwealth Games, 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 and is not eligible to participate).

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James Kay - I removed the piece about his contribution to industrialize the linen industry in the British Isles. It wasn't supported by any citations. I've searched a ...
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British Isles - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Genetic history of the British Isles…
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British Isles naming dispute - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
There is disagreement over the applicability of the term British Isles with ... University presses) have discussed the acceptability of the term "British Isles" in ...
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The term British Isles is controversial in Ireland, where there are objections to its ..... Britain and then to the continent, founding monasteries and universities and ...
Politics in the British Isles - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Terminology of the British Isles - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The British Isles is a term used to mean the island of Great Britain plus the island ...... Philip Freeman, Ireland and the Classical World, University of Texas Press, ...
British Isles - Conservapedia
Aug 16, 2012 ... The British Isles are a group of islands off the northwestern coast of continental Europe. ... 1 Geography; 2 A note on terminology; 3 Culture of the British Isles; 4 Footnotes; 5 Links .... Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p.
GENUKI: United Kingdom and Ireland
Nov 4, 2013 ... Map of British Isles showing constituent countries ... Dictionary of National Biography Index and Epitome, ed. Sir Sidney Lee ... It's part of the Bolles London Collection in the Perseus Project, Tufts University in Massachusetts.
[PDF]Assessing the Long-Term Future Climate of the British Isles in ...
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Great Britain - University of Minnesota Duluth
Terminology of the British Isles · British House in the Cotswolds. An Euler diagram clarifying the Terminology of the British Isles (enlarge) ...
Is Ireland part of the British Isles? - TheJournal.ie
Oct 28, 2013 ... The first use of the term “British Isles”, recorded by the Oxford English ... and two universities, uses the phrase “the British Isles and Ireland“.
Glossary of Terms - English - The University of Sheffield
Just to confuse matters, schools in the British Isles divide the year into three terms . Although the university divides the year into semesters not terms, you may still ...
Books on the term Terminology of the British Isles
The British Isles: Webster's Timeline History, 450BC - 2007
The British Isles: Webster's Timeline History, 450BC - 2007
2009
Webster's timelines cover bibliographic citations, patented inventions, as well as non-conventional and alternative meanings which capture ambiguities in usage. These furthermore cover all parts of speech (possessive, institutional usage, geographic usage) and contexts, including pop culture, the arts, social sciences (linguistics, history, ge...
Terminology of the British Isles
Terminology of the British Isles
Jesse Russell, Ronald Cohn, 2012
High Quality Content by WIKIPEDIA articles! Various terms are used to describe the different (and sometimes overlapping) geographical and political areas of the islands of Great Britain, Ireland, and surrounding islands.
English Law and Terminology: A Guide for Practitioners and Students, 2nd ed. (Lingua Juris - Kompendien zu Recht...
English Law and Terminology: A Guide for Practitioners and Students, 2nd ed. (Lingua Juris - Kompendien zu Recht...
2006
As a result of the growing globalization of business and education, an understanding of foreign legal systems has become indispensable for both students and practitioners. In this context, the English common law presents a particular challenge, as it differs significantly from the legal traditions of continental Europe. This second edition of the f...
The British Isles
The British Isles
Bernd Kortmann, Clive Upton, 2008
A note on geopolitical terminology 'The British Isles' is a geographical term which refers to the two large islands that contain the mainlands of Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Irish Republic, Wales, and England, together with a large number of ...
The Age of Homespun: Objects and Stories in the Creation of an American Myth
The Age of Homespun: Objects and Stories in the Creation of an American Myth
2002
In 1851, when theologian Horace Bushnell stood on the village green in Litchfield, Conn., and looked back lovingly on the "Age of Homespun," he was expressing a perennial American nostalgia for the "good old days," when clothing and other necessities were mostly made at home by family labor. Historian Ulrich (author of the Pulit...
Late Stone Age Hunters of the British Isles
Late Stone Age Hunters of the British Isles
Christopher Smith, 2012
When it isused subsequentlythis definition can be found viatheindex. This prefacebeganwith some words ofexplanation about part ofthe titleandIwill conclude withsome remarks about the rest. The geographical expression the'British Isles' is ...
Implementing Change in Health Systems: Market Reforms in the United Kingdom, Sweden and The Netherlands
Implementing Change in Health Systems: Market Reforms in the United Kingdom, Sweden and The Netherlands
Michael I. Harrison, 2004
Implementing Change in Health Systems brings fresh thinking and evidence to the continuing debate about market reforms of health care and other public services. The book examines the development and implementation of national cost-containment programs and health system reorganizations in the UK, Sweden and the Netherlands — countries that have been...
Language in the British Isles
Language in the British Isles
Peter Trudgill, 1984
Apart from a few administrative terms surviving from Danish rule (by-law 'town- law', husband 'householder'), they include ... is clearest in those areas of life in which the conquerors were dominant: The history of English in the British Isles 27 .
British Consciousness and Identity: The Making of Britain, 1533-1707
British Consciousness and Identity: The Making of Britain, 1533-1707
2003
This collection makes a special contribution to the development of the "new British history"--which seeks to explore in a comparative framework the history of the national entities that constitute the two islands of the Atlantic Archipelago. The contributors represent the four constituent national communities, and their essays provide a f...
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Blog posts on the term
Terminology of the British Isles
Complex politics or simple geography: Is Ireland part of the British Isles? | IGV News Online
www.igvnews.com/complex-politics-or-simple-geography-is-ireland-part-of-the-british-isles/698061/
The British Isles: A Land of Enchantment - Care2 News Network
Humans have inhabited Britain since long before the British Isles broke away from the European continent. The long history adds to the interest and historical wonders for the visitor.
www.care2.com/news/member/451276626/3648043
single word requests - How do you say 'cooked pig small intestine filled with pig blood' in English? - English Language & Usage Stack Exchange
english.stackexchange.com/questions/134796/how-do-you-say-cooked-pig-small-intestine-filled-with-pig-blood-in-english
The British isles: terminology
Terminology of the British Isles (Wikipedia)via.
www.blameitonthevoices.com/2010/11/british-isles-terminology.html
The Grammarphobia Blog: English lit or British lit?
Does one study English literature or British literature?
www.grammarphobia.com/blog/2013/01/english-vs-british-literature.html
Main/Britain Versus the UK - Television Tropes & Idioms
Main: Britain Versus The UK
tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BritainVersusTheUK
The British isles: terminology | UnionVersity
by admin on November 1, 2010 in Uncategorized with No comments Tweet.
www.unionversity.com/the-british-isles-terminology
The difference between the United Kingdom, Great Britain and England | Visual.ly
The Terminology of the British Isles is pretty confusing, so it’s no wonder that people get confused. Are Great Britain, the UK and England the sam
visual.ly/difference-between-united-kingdom-great-britain-and-england
Vancouver: British Isles terminology
An interesting picture . .
wheres-darren.blogspot.com/2008/09/british-isles-terminology.html
BBC - The Devenport Diaries: A meeting of the Atlantic Archipelago
BBC Northern Ireland political editor Mark Devenport's blog
www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markdevenport/2007/07/a_meeting_of_the_atlantic_arch.html
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