Also found in: Thesaurus, Idioms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to British: British accent


a. Of or relating to Great Britain or its people, language, or culture.
b. Of or relating to the United Kingdom or the Commonwealth of Nations.
2. Of or relating to the ancient Britons.
1. (used with a pl. verb) The people of Great Britain.
2. British English.
3. The Celtic language of the ancient Britons.

[Middle English Brittish, from Old English Bryttisc, relating to the ancient Britons, from Bryttas, Britons, of Celtic origin.]
Usage Note: Almost everyone in the British Isles speaks a dialect of English—a legacy of England's historic dominance over the region. Perhaps that is why many Americans treat British and English as if they were synonyms. But such a usage belies the political and cultural diversity of the British Isles, which contain two main islands and a number of smaller ones. The islands are home to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, to the Republic of Ireland, and to several smaller political entities such as the Isle of Man, Jersey, and Guernsey. How people refer to themselves in this complex situation often depends on their political outlook. The people of Wales and Scotland, for example, are not English; they may call themselves British in the context of their citizenship in the United Kingdom, or they may call themselves Welsh or Scottish in contexts that emphasize their distinct cultural identity. Similarly, residents of England can be called either British or English. Citizens of the Republic of Ireland are neither British nor English, and in fact many of them avoid using the term British Isles itself, regarding it as fundamentally colonialist. In Northern Ireland, the term Irish is preferred by those who favor independence from the United Kingdom, while British is often preferred by those who support continued union with the UK—but many residents consider themselves both Irish and British. In this dictionary, biographical entries use the terms English and Scottish to describe people who were born in England or Scotland before the year 1707, when the two kingdoms were formally united by acts of both countries' parliaments. We use British to describe English and Scottish people born after 1707. (We use the same year as a cutoff for the term Welsh, though Wales was officially annexed by England in the 16th century.) With a few exceptions, we describe those born in Ireland as Irish, regardless of whether they were born under British rule.


1. relating to, denoting, or characteristic of Britain or any of the natives, citizens, or inhabitants of the United Kingdom
2. (Languages) relating to or denoting the English language as spoken and written in Britain, esp the S dialect generally regarded as standard. See also Southern British English, Received Pronunciation
3. (Historical Terms) relating to or denoting the ancient Britons
4. (Historical Terms) of or relating to the Commonwealth: British subjects.
5. (Peoples) (functioning as plural) the natives or inhabitants of Britain
6. (Languages) the extinct Celtic language of the ancient Britons. See also Brythonic
ˈBritishness n


(ˈbrɪt ɪʃ)

1. of or pertaining to Great Britain or its inhabitants.
2. of or pertaining to the island of Britain and its inhabitants, esp. before the division of the island into the principalities of England, Wales, and Scotland in the Middle Ages.
3. (used with a pl. v.)
a. the inhabitants of Great Britain, or natives of Great Britain living elsewhere; Britons.
b. the Celtic-speaking inhabitants of Britain before the Germanic invasions of the 5th century a.d.
[before 900; Middle English Brittische, Old English Bryttisc, derivative of Brytt(as) Britons]
Brit′ish•ness, n.


1. 'Britain'

Britain or Great Britain consists of England, Scotland, and Wales. The United Kingdom consists of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. The British Isles refers to Britain, Ireland, and all the smaller islands around the coast.

2. 'British'

The nationality of someone from the United Kingdom is British, although some people prefer to call themselves English, Scottish, Welsh, or Northern Irish. It is incorrect and may cause offence to call all British people 'English'.

You can refer to all the people who come from Britain as the British.

I don't think the British are good at hospitality.
The British have always displayed a healthy scepticism towards ideas.

The British can also be used to refer to a group of British people, for example the British representatives at an international conference.

The British have made these negotiations more complicated.
The British had come up with a bold and dangerous solution.
3. 'Briton'

In writing, an individual British person can be referred to as a Briton.

The youth, a 17-year-old Briton, was searched and arrested.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.British - the people of Great BritainBritish - the people of Great Britain    
nation, country, land - the people who live in a nation or country; "a statement that sums up the nation's mood"; "the news was announced to the nation"; "the whole country worshipped him"
Adj.1.British - of or relating to or characteristic of Great Britain or its people or culture; "his wife is British"
britebritiskbritisk engelskengelsk
británicobritánicosinglés británicolos británicosbritánica
영국 사람영국의
İngilizBritanya'ya ait
người Vương Quốc Anhthuộc Vương Quốc Anh


A. ADJ (gen) → británico; (loosely) → inglés
the best of British (luck)!¡y un cuerno!
B. NPL the Britishlos británicos; (loosely) → los ingleses
C. CPD British Asian Nbritanico/a m/f de origen asiático
British Council N (in other countries) → Consejo m Británico
the British disease N (Ind) (hum) la falta de motivación laboral de los años 60-70 en el Reino Unido
British English Ninglés m británico
the British Isles NPLlas Islas Británicas
British Legion N organización de veteranos de las dos guerras mundiales LEGION British Museum NMuseo m Británico
British Summer Time N hora de verano en Gran Bretaña
British Thermal Unit Nunidad f térmica británica
El British Council se creó en 1935 para fomentar la cultura británica en el extranjero y actualmente tiene delegaciones en más de 100 países. Sus principales cometidos son la organización de actividades culturales, tales como exposiciones y conferencias, con el fin de dar a conocer el arte, la ciencia y la literatura del país, así como la enseñanza del inglés, además de ayudar a aquellos que desean estudiar en el Reino Unido.


adjbritannique British Isles
the British → les Britanniques mplBritish Asian
adj (= Anglo-Asian) britannique originaire du sous-continent indien
n (= Anglo-Asian) Britannique originaire du sous-continent indienBritish Broadcasting Corporation n
the British Broadcasting Corporation → la BBCBritish Columbia [kəˈlʌmbɪə] nColombie f britanniqueBritish Council nBritish Council m (organisme public chargé de promouvoir la langue et la culture britannique)


adjbritisch; I’m Britishich bin Brite/Britin; British Englishbritisches Englisch; and the best of British (luck)! (inf)na, dann mal viel Glück! ? luck
n the British pldie Briten pl


British Honduras
nBritisch-Honduras nt
British Isles
pl the Britishdie Britischen Inseln
British Telecom
nBritish Telecom f


1. adj (economy, team) → britannico/a, inglese; (ambassador) → della Gran Bretagna, inglese
2. npl the Britishgli inglesi


(ˈbritiʃ) adjective
of or from Great Britain or the Commonwealth. In this dictionary British refers to British English.


بَريطانِيِّ Brit, britský brite, britisk Brite, britisch βρετανικός, Βρετανός británico, británicos britit, brittiläinen britannique Britanac, britanski britannico 英国の, 英国人 영국 사람, 영국의 Brit, Brits brite, britisk Brytyjczyk, brytyjski britânico, nativo da Grã-Bretanha британец, британский britt, brittisk เกี่ยวกับประเทศสหราชอาณาจักรอังกฤษ, ชาวสหราชอาณาจักร İngiliz người Vương Quốc Anh, thuộc Vương Quốc Anh 英国人, 英国的
References in classic literature ?
Bosun's mate, take a bight of the flying-jib sheet, and start this villain if he doesn't confess his sins double quick, ' said the British captain.
Washington, who, after uselessly admonishing the European general of the danger into which he was heedlessly running, saved the remnants of the British army, on this occasion, by his decision and courage.
On the tenth day of March following, I, and ten of my men, were conducted by forty Indians to Detroit, where we arrived the thirtieth day, and were treated by Governor Hamilton, the British commander at that post, with great humanity.
Pyncheon's property--to be measured by miles, not acres--would be worth an earldom, and would reasonably entitle him to solicit, or enable him to purchase, that elevated dignity from the British monarch.
Nor must we forget the captains of the rusty little schooners that bring firewood from the British provinces; a rough-looking set of tarpaulins, without the alertness of the Yankee aspect, but contributing an item of no slight importance to our decaying trade.
The British and American line had run near it during the war; it had, therefore], been the scene of marauding and infested with refugees, cow-boys, and all kinds of border chivalry.
In the British Greenland Fishery, under the corrupted title of Specksioneer, this old Dutch official is still retained, but his former dignity is sadly abridged.
But not content with this good deed, the indefatigable house again bestirred itself: Samuel and all his Sons --how many, their mother only knows --and under their immediate auspices, and partly, I think, at their expense, the British government was induced to send the sloop-of-war Rattler on a whaling voyage of discovery into the South Sea.
It soon transpired that the eclipse had scared the British world almost to death; that while it lasted the whole country, from one end to the other, was in a pitiable state of panic, and the churches, hermitages, and monkeries overflowed with praying and weeping poor creatures who thought the end of the world was come.
The Anglo-American Club, composed of British and American students, had twenty-five members, and there was still much material left to draw from.
During the first three hundred years after Columbus's discovery, there wasn't ever more than one good lecture audience of white people, all put together, in America - I mean the whole thing, British Possessions and all; in the beginning of our century there were only 6,000,000 or 7,000,000 - say seven; 12,000,000 or
That drop was falling when the Pyramids were new; when Troy fell; when the foundations of Rome were laid when Christ was crucified; when the Conqueror created the British empire; when Columbus sailed; when the massacre at Lexington was "news.