Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index


A demonym is a word that denotes the members of a people or the inhabitants of a place.

The English language uses several strategies to create demonyms. The most common is to add a suffix to the end of the location's name. These include:

In some cases, both the location's name and the demonym are produced by suffixation, for example England and English (derived from the Angle tribe). In some cases the derivation is concealed enough that it is no longer morphemic: France -> French.

Sometimes the name of the country is derived from the people's name (Swiss -> Switzerland).

Finally, in a few cases the name of the country is not at all related to the name of the people (Netherlands -> Dutch).

Demonyms can be nouns or adjectives. In many cases the noun and adjective forms are the same (Canadian/Canadian); in other cases they are different (Spaniard/Spanish). In some of the latter cases the noun is formed by adding -man or -woman (English/Englishman/Englishwoman).

See List of adjectival forms of place names for a list.\n