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n. 1 A name for an inhabitant or native of a specific place that is derived from the name of the place. 2 (context obsolete English) A pseudonym formed of an adjective.


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

Examples of demonyms include Chinese for a native of China, Swahili for a native of the Swahili coast, American for a native of the United States of America, and in the same way natives of the United States of Mexico are referred to as Mexicans.

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

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

English widely includes country-level demonyms - such as "Ethiopian", "Guatemalan", "Japanese", and "French". But English occasionally includes lower-level demonyms - such as " Seoulite", " Wisconsinite", " Chicagoan", " Fluminense", and " Paulista". Some large cities such as Australia's Perth, and many other places, lack a commonly used and accepted appellation. This poses a particular challenge to those toponymists who research demonyms.

Demonyms are often the same as the ethnonym for the ethnically dominant group in a place. Thus a "Thai" may be any resident or citizen of Thailand, of any ethnic group, or more narrowly a member of the Thai people.

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