So we call a French male "Frenchman", an English male "Englishman", and a Dutch male "Dutchman". what do we call Swiss males?

"Swissman" comes to mind, but it sounds like a cheesy version of Superman, like "Cheddarman" or "Mozzarellaman".

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    Remember, "Swissman" cannot mean "Swiss male" -- Man can and does mean 'person' in such contexts. – Kris Nov 8 '13 at 6:40
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    @Kris. So are you saying that my daughter is an 'Englishman'? I'd better wear a suit of armour before I tell her that! – WS2 Nov 8 '13 at 7:15
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    @Kris So do you mean she could call herself an 'Englishman' if she wanted to? I think I may need two suits of armour! – WS2 Nov 8 '13 at 7:34
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    No way. If I say I don't trust an Englishman, I could include someone and his daughter and his aunt in that set. Get the drift? – Kris Nov 8 '13 at 7:40
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    @Kris There is something about 'when in a hole, stop.........' – WS2 Nov 8 '13 at 7:49

There are in fact very few cases where the customary demonym is root + -man— those you have named plus Irishman, Norseman, Welshman, Scotsman, and (obsolete, now considered offensive) Chinaman, and maybe a few others in Britain like Yorkshireman or Cornishman.

In the absence of a more established form, the demonym is usually the same as the adjectival form. Just as we would speak of an Indonesian, an Omani, or a New Zealander, we would speak of a Swiss.

It sounds abrupt, even to this native speaker, not only because it is monosyllabic (e.g. calling someone a Japanese also seems off), but because in today's politically correct age, referring to someone solely by their nationality or ethnicity is potentially problematic. It would be preferable to use the demonymic adjective in conjunction with a noun; Swiss man would suffice.

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    Yorkshire and Cornwall are the only counties of England that allow for this treatment. You cannot, for example say a 'Norfolkman', but you can refer to someone as a Lancastrian, a Devonian, a Cumbrian and a Northumbrian. You can also refer to a Dalesman. But the terms Yorkshireman and Cornishman mean more than simply a resident of those counties. You could, for example, live in New Zealand, and still call yourself a Yorkshireman. These terms connote more than a person's locality, but a certain sense of identity. – WS2 Nov 8 '13 at 7:26
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    I don't agree that it's automatically "potentially problematic" to refer to someone with a single word referencing their nationality. "An American" is completely fine and I can't imagine it ever being seen as problematic. I think the same goes for any nationality noun ending in "-an". "Swiss" sounding abrupt is a particular feature of that particular word; I don't think it's explainable by reference to the meaning of the word. – herisson Nov 30 '16 at 16:08
  • I like "a Swiss." It sounds very nice to me for some reason – SAH May 7 '17 at 15:39

A man from Switzerland is called a Swiss man.

You can tag the nouns: male; man/men; gentleman; guy/s; woman/women; girl; boy; baby etc. to any nationality. And rightly so, otherwise phrases like:

"He married a Swiss"


"The other day while travelling into France by train, we talked to a very friendly Swiss"

are needlessly vague or ambiguous.

Moreover, Swiss man should not be spelt as one word. Some other examples are an Italian man, a Brazilian man a Chinese man. I tend to spell English man as two words but it can be spelt as one word, likewise Frenchman and Frenchwoman are commonly used names.

The words Englishman, Englishwoman, Frenchman, Frenchwoman, and Scotsman are nouns in their own right.

Even the Swiss news use the term Swiss man themselves.

Prince George's website swiped by Swiss man

  • You would really be referring to some 'man' with a qualifier 'Swiss' here -- Swiss man is not an expression for a 'male national of Switzerland' as an 'Englishman' or a 'Scotsman'. That way, I could as well refer to 'this Detroit man' and 'that Los Angeles man'. See for example, Gerry Dorrian's answer. – Kris Nov 8 '13 at 6:37
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    Likewise with all the other terms: a Chinese person, an Egyptian woman, etc – Mitch Dec 1 '16 at 17:07
  • @Kris Swiss is the adjective and noun. Swiss man or a Swiss. Swedish man but a Swede. – Lambie Apr 18 '20 at 14:23

I'm Swiss and this has never occurred to me until I read "a Swiss" in an article earlier today. It really does not sound right. If Shakespeare really referred to them as "Switzers", that seems good enough for the rest of us. My suggestion was going to be "an Helvetic" or "an Helvetian", derived from the latin name of the country (Helvetica, which is why the initials of the country are "CH" and why the currency is "CHF"). It may admittedly not be intuitive or obvious to readers, so perhaps this suggestion isn't the way to go.

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    Wouldn't you aspirate the h? In which case 'An Helvetian' sounds ridiculously stuffy. – Edwin Ashworth Sep 8 '20 at 13:53

Vladimir Nabokov and Shakespeare went with Switzer; one need look no further.

GERTRUDE     Alack, what noise is this?

CLAUDIUS Where are my Switzers? Let them guard the door.

Hamlet 4.5

(Interestingly, the Russian word for "doorman" is швейцар ["shveĭt͡sar"], perhaps from this usage. But I'm fairly sure "Switzer" indeed means "Swiss guy" in English.)

...with some weird light effects anon, when the torch-bearing Switzers are sent to find the body.

Bend Sinister 112.

  • ...except that few others in the English world use these. – Mitch Dec 1 '16 at 17:07
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    A Switzer sounds like a drink… perhaps a Spritzer made with Seltzer water. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Dec 15 '16 at 8:10
  • @JanusBahsJacquet I think you are talking about a swizzle stick. P.S.: I like your name. – SAH Dec 22 '16 at 5:39

Whichever the nationality, it is an Adjective in a Noun Phrase, whether you tag on a denominator or gender or other such noun.

So, "I'm a Swiss (man / woman / citizen / denizen / etc.)" is fine. Or then simply say, "I'm Swiss" leaving out the [indefinite] article.

(Please do post a comment if you don't agree with me).


I agree with the above; however, another alternative might be "man from Switzerland".


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