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What is the correct term? British or English? Scot or Scottish?

  1. meow48 profile image75
    meow48posted 6 years ago

    What is the correct term?  British or English?  Scot or Scottish?

    okay, this may be rather silly, but to the folks from england, do you prefer to called British or English????   The same question to those from Scotland, is it Scot or Scottish?? thanks for your participation ahead of time.

  2. iantoPF profile image80
    iantoPFposted 6 years ago

    It really gets somewhat complicated but I'll try.
    The group of Islands at the north west corner of Europe are the British Isles. "British' is a geographic term that applies to any person, language or culture that is associated with those islands. Those islands have three distinct political entities; the largest being the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" The second largest is the "Republic of Eire" this comprises of most of Ireland excluding the 6 counties of Ulster or Northern Ireland. The smallest is an island the "Isle of Man"
    In between the United Kingdom and France are the Channel islands, a group of small islands, each with a measure of autonomy.
    The largest political entity is the United Kingdom. The "Great" in Great Britain refers to the "Greater part of" So the United Kingdom is the greater part of the islands of Britain. The United Kingdom consists of 4 historic nations; England, Scotland, Wales and Cornwall. each with a distinct history and language. Those 4 nations send their representatives to the UK parliament and that government controls the military, makes treaties with foreign countries and does all the things that a sovereign state is expected to do. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have some control over local affairs but the decisions regarding the Island are taken by the UK parliament.
    So, to sum up. Anyone from the islands of Britain is British. That may seem obvious but it is a highly controversial political statement that large numbers of people will disagree with.
    The people of England are English. The people of Scotland are Scots, their culture is Scottish. The people of Wales are Welsh and the people of Cornwall are Cornish.

  3. profile image48
    caroleaposted 6 years ago

    Since I left the UK to live overseas, I have thought a lot about this question. In terms of my citizenship, I would always describe myself as British - but when talking about my heritage, I would say I  was English.

    As your other commenter remarked, the Scots are the people of Scotland - though their nationality is British. But I'll defer to Scottish visitors to confirm and enlarge on that!

  4. glenn wallace profile image75
    glenn wallaceposted 6 years ago

    I can never keep it all straight.

    I'd suggest this video which really does a good job of running it all down:

  5. meow48 profile image75
    meow48posted 6 years ago

    thanks so much for helping me with this question.  to break it down, if you are from the england part you are english? and the generic term is brittish? for everyone?  i am soooooo confused. thankyou all for answering this question.  I just feel ike i have asked someone to solve the square root of Pi.

  6. The Quiz Master profile image75
    The Quiz Masterposted 6 years ago

    It's not so complicated.
    It matters where you are born.
    If you are born in England you are English
    If you are born in Scotland you are Scottish
    If you are born in Wales you are Welsh
    If you are born in Ireland you are Irish

    All the above are also British because all of the above form Great Britain.

    If you are an immigrant and live in England and you've become a citizen you wouldn't call yourself English you would call yourself British.

    Hope this makes things clearer for you.

  7. Knowledge Share profile image63
    Knowledge Shareposted 6 years ago

    It also slightly depends on the context..

    Andy Murray is a tennis player from Scotland. He can correctly be identified as Scottish or as a Scot. He can also correctly be identified as British as Scotland is part of Great Britiain.

    Now - if Andy was to win Wimbledon then all the newspapers in England would refer to him as British. If he was to lose in the first round then the same newspapers would undoubtedly refer to him as Scottish.

    In truth, most British people would actually refer to themselves as English, Scottish, Welsh or Irish (thats Northern Ireland only and even then its dependant upon their political affiliation but thats a whole different question) rather than British.

    In terms of Scottish or Scots then again either is correct but it depends on how it prefaced. Scottish people will either say "I am a Scot" or "I am Scottish"

    Ps they get very annoyed if you refer to them as Scotch

  8. toblob95 profile image61
    toblob95posted 6 years ago

    if you were born in England you would be English, same goes for Scotland you would be Scottish but if you moved to England or Scotland you would be British as you are entering the British isles.
    Hope this made a bit of sense

  9. Rayalternately profile image59
    Rayalternatelyposted 6 years ago

    If we were a facebook relationship status, we'd definitely need to choose, "it's complicated" big_smile

    The preference (in reference to the original question) rather depends on the person and situation. While I might prefer to be called English (purely for geographical clarity) my friend might prefer to be called British because he likes tennis and Andy Murray (Scottish) is better than Tim Henman (English)! tongue

    ...and we haven't even touched on football yet!

    In fairness, I wouldn't worry too much about it, there isn't a correct term for all occasssions, and I don't think most people are too bothered anyway.

  10. profile image0
    Ghaelachposted 6 years ago

    I live in Germany and we have a lot of people from Turkey. Now there are families that have been here 40-50 years or more and they have children born here so technically they are German. But ask them what nationality they are they are Turkish and proud of it.
    An English person living abroad would say he/she is British for the ease of it all. A lot of foreigners know about GB but couldn't tell you where England or Scotland is. I find that geography is a bad subject for a big majority of European young people. Some would when asked where London is place it in the south of France or even Spain.
    So English, Scottish, Welch or Irish (NI) dosen't matter out side of the UK . You are British. Some folk even think that Great Britian, United Kingdom, and Britain are three different countries. So even when you've said British they've still know idea where you come from.

  11. Seeker7 profile image96
    Seeker7posted 6 years ago


    It is confusing when people ask about it, but for me living in Scotland you don't really think about it. I think when people are referring to their cultural heritage then they prefer their region/country of origin. The reason for this, is that each of the 4 countries of Great Britain/United kingdom have their own distinct cultures even although our histories are mixed in. My friend who is sitting here with her husband prefers to be called English and I prefer to be called Scottish. It will be the same with the Welsh and Irish peoples. As one of the hubbers said, I don't know of any Scottish person who likes to be called Scotch - that's a drink not a person. Hope I haven't confused you even more! LOL

  12. Bretsuki profile image79
    Bretsukiposted 6 years ago


    I would agree with all the other replies regarding the geographic term British and cultural terms of English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh.
    I was born in England so I tell people I am English, for terms of nationality, living in the United States, I declare myself as British as that is what my passport says I am for purposes of travel.

  13. RGAldriedge profile image61
    RGAldriedgeposted 6 years ago

    All I know is the Scots hate to be called Scotch.  However, it is still called Scotch Whiskey.

  14. profile image0
    sinisa_sinaposted 6 years ago

    I would say British describes place from where you're coming from, and English is your nationality.
    As for Scots it's nationality, and Scottish is origin.

  15. profile image0
    Aka Professor Mposted 6 years ago

    While the whole Island is Britain, there are  Individual Countries within that geographic perimeter of the island. The English (Plural) are from England,the Scottish are people (plural) from Scotland a Scot is someone(singular)from Scotland  the Welsh (Plural) are from Wales! A Welsh person is presumably the singular version with gender predominating ie: man or woman as fits the term! 

    So Much like the term Africans refer to those from the Continent of Africa, the People from the British Isles are British or Britons!

  16. earnings33 profile image38
    earnings33posted 6 years ago

    The proper word will be according to me is British and other word would be Scottish.

  17. itsameanoldscene profile image60
    itsameanoldsceneposted 6 years ago

    & to make it more confusing ;-

    England is a Kingdom
    Scotland is a Dukedom
    Wales in a Principality
    Northern ireland is a Province

  18. profile image58
    steakyfaskposted 6 years ago

    who cares, people who care about this are stupid...

    Im english and wouldnt care whch one you called me smile

  19. alancaster149 profile image85
    alancaster149posted 6 years ago


    'British' is an expression of collective identity, covering a multitude of sins. It means you could come from anywhere between the Channel Islands and Shetland going north-south, or from Sheringham in Norfolk to Snowdonia in the west or Strabane in the north of Ulster. 'English' narrows things down a lot. If you're a Cornishman you will assert that the English live on the east side of the Tamar and no further south west. A Scot is someone who was either a) born north of the border, b) lives in the Highlands and speaks Gaelic or c) can trace their ancestry back to Kenneth McAlpin's influx in the sixth century from... wait for it: Ireland. Yup, the Scots are originally Irish! Confusing, innit! Scottish just means coming from Scotland as we know it now. If you saw the first episodes of THE HISTORY OF SCOTLAND presented by historian Neil Oliver, you may have been altogether mixed up by the entry of Picts, Angles, Norsemen, Gaels and Normans - not to mention Flemings and Bretons and further Anglo-Saxons after the Conquest period. Had enough? It's a headache, isn't it!