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EnglishEdit

PronunciationEdit

  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈbɹɪ.tən/, /ˈbɹɪ.tn̩/
  • (file)
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈbɹɪ.tn̩/, [ˈbɹɪ.ɾᵊn̩], [ˈbɹɪ.ʔᵊn̩]
  • Rhymes: -ɪtən

Etymology 1Edit

Old English Breoton, Bryten etc., from Latin Britannia; later reinforced by Anglo-Norman Britaine, Old French Bretaigne, from Latin Brittannia, variant of Britannia, from Britannī. Ultimately from Proto-Brythonic *Prɨdėn (Britain) from *Pritanī (also compare *Prɨdɨn (Picts) from *Pritenī), attested to in Ancient Greek as Πρεττανική (Prettanikḗ), compare Welsh Prydain. Doublet of Brittany.

Proper nounEdit

Britain (plural Britains)

  1. The island of Great Britain, consisting of England, Scotland and Wales. [from 10th c.]
  2. (loosely) The United Kingdom.
  3. (now historical) Brittany. [from 13th c.]
  4. (now historical) The British state and its dominions and holdings; the British Empire. [from 17th c.]
  5. (in the plural) The British Empire. [from 19th c.]
    • 1874, The Times, 14 July 1874:
      The name of 'Britain' [] ought to answer every purpose, or if that be thought too condensed, it may be pluralized into ‘The Britains’.
SynonymsEdit
Related termsEdit
TranslationsEdit

Etymology 2Edit

From Latin Britannus (adjective and noun, plural Britannī), apparently from Brythonic (compare Old Welsh Priten).

NounEdit

Britain (plural Britains)

  1. (now rare, historical) An ancient Briton. [from 15th c.]
    • 2002, L. C. Lambdin and R. T. Lambdin, Companion to Old and Middle English Literature, 2002, page 12:
      The Britains’ struggles with the Scots and Picts [...] led to the Britains asking the Romans for help in constructing a great wall.

AdjectiveEdit

Britain (comparative more Britain, superlative most Britain)

  1. (obsolete) Briton; British. [16th-18th c.]
    • 1596, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, IV.11:
      mightie Albion, father of the bold / And warlike people which the Britaine Islands hold […].

See alsoEdit

Further readingEdit

AnagramsEdit