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I see four people in front of me. One is from Wales, one is from Scotland, one is from England and one is from Northern Ireland. I can say about each one "He is Scottish/Welsh/English". But, how do I say it about all of them? As far as I heard, Great Britain is the island, so I cannot say "They are British" because that would exclude the man from Northern Ireland. "They are United Kingdomers"... I doubt that it is correct. So, is there a word that could be used in such phrase and mean "They are from United Kingdom"?

Additional question: is there a word that refers to someone from Northern Ireland? Northern Irish?

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@Carlo_R., Italian periferico -> English peripheral –  jwpat7 Mar 4 '13 at 19:13
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@Carlo_R.: I think I understand your reasoning, but for this specific question, I stand by GR. It's not really Too Localised, because huge numbers of people don't/can't distinguish between England, Britain, Great Britain the UK, but every now and then they're at least vaguely interested in knowing what the different terms mean. –  FumbleFingers Mar 4 '13 at 22:51
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Though not ostensibly a duplicate, the answers to this question seem to cover what you want. –  Mitch Mar 4 '13 at 23:10
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@FumbleFingers - I think you're letting a narrow 'dictionary' definition of British override reality. There's no context in which using the term "British" to describe NI Nationalists is either helpful or meaningful. –  tinyd Mar 5 '13 at 14:46
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@tinyd: It's not a "narrow dictionary definition" - it's what most Brits (mainland, and NI) understand by the word British. It's potentially a sensitive issue because almost all the Protestant majority in NI (and indeed many of the Catholic minority) actually want to retain the existing status. But I'm not trying to either help or hinder the peace process here - I'm just saying what the word British actually covers. –  FumbleFingers Mar 5 '13 at 16:03

2 Answers 2

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You can say that they are British. That would include people and things of Northern Ireland, as well. For referring to people who are from Northern Ireland in particular, you can say Northern Irish as well.

You are right that Britain is the main island and not Northern Ireland as well. Together they are the UK, so the word British would describe people or things from the UK generally.

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I wouldn't use the term British to describe a person from Northern Ireland unless they specifically use the term first. There is way too much historial/political context that needs to be understood first. –  tinyd Mar 5 '13 at 14:43
    
tinyd, there is that political aspect to it as well. They can be described as British because they from the UK. Whether or not they want it used to describe themselves in particular, is another question and depends on if they take a particular position in Northern Ireland's political situation. –  Tristan Mar 5 '13 at 15:21
    
I agree that in a certain theoretical context the term "British" could be used to describe all people from Northern Ireland. But my point is that you would never actually use this in practice without checking first :) –  tinyd Mar 5 '13 at 15:28
    
Yes, it's better to find out first before using it in their presence. –  Tristan Mar 5 '13 at 15:34
    
I've heard somewhere that one of the first questions British (people from UK, since we have clarified how to call them :) ) people ask when they meet a new person is "Where are you from?" . I suppose these are the reasons. –  Highstaker Mar 5 '13 at 16:37

Northern Irish is a legitimate term that gets some usage. However, in my experience, people from Northern Ireland typically describe themselves as British or Irish depending on their political persuasion.

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