English Edit

Pronunciation Edit

  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈbɹɪt.ən/, [ˈbɹɪt.n̩]
  • (file)
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈbɹɪt.ən/, [ˈbɹɪɾ.ᵊn̩], [ˈbɹɪʔ.ᵊn̩]
  • Rhymes: -ɪtən
  • Hyphenation: Brit‧ain
  • Homophone: Briton

Etymology 1 Edit

From Middle English Breteyn, from Anglo-Norman Bretaigne, Bretaine, from Latin Brittannia, variant of Latin Britannia, from Britannī; reinforced by native Old English Breten, from the same Latin source. 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. More at Britto.

Proper noun Edit

Britain (countable and uncountable, plural Britains)

  1. (loosely) The United Kingdom.
  2. The island of Great Britain, consisting of England, Scotland and Wales, especially during antiquity. [from 10th c.]
  3. (historical) Brittany. [from 13th c.]
  4. (in the plural) The British Isles.
  5. (historical) The British state and its dominions and holdings; the British Empire. [from 17th c.]
  6. (in the plural) The British Empire. [from 19th c.]
    • 1874 July 14, The Times:
      The name of 'Britain' [] ought to answer every purpose, or if that be thought too condensed, it may be pluralized into ‘The Britains’.
Synonyms Edit
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Descendants Edit
  • Hawaiian: Pelekāne
  • Tokelauan: Peletānia
Translations Edit

Etymology 2 Edit

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

Noun Edit

Britain (plural Britains)

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

Adjective Edit

Britain (comparative more Britain, superlative most Britain)

  1. (obsolete) Briton; British. [16th–18th c.]

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