This may look like General Reference, but I've googled "list of nicknames for England", "list of nicknames for the United Kingdom", and all I got was "list of city nicknames in the United Kingdom" or "list of nicknames for counties of the United Kingdom" and even "list of names and nicknames for the English". I'm not looking for nicknames for the English or the British, though. My question is: Are there nicknames for England (or the United Kingdom)? Where and when did they originate?
There is the British Bulldog, which is a real breed of dog which is often used to symbolise Britain - this Pitt Nutter blog site has many illustrations
This Wikipedia page on National Personifications features Britannia side-by-side with Uncle Sam.
It also has this recruiting poster showing John Bull - a much less familiar version than the Kitchener one mentioned by @sjy
Off the top of my head (I'm not from the UK), I can think of blighty which is defined by the online Oxford dictionary as:
An informal term for Britain or England, used by soldiers of the First and Second World Wars.
It is often used as old blighty, as in the song Take me back to dear old Blighty. It's origin according to the same OD link is
first used by soldiers in the Indian army; Anglo-Indian alteration of Urdu bilāyatī, wilāyatī 'foreign, European', from Arabic wilāyat, wilāya 'dominion, district'.
As you can see from this NGram (run on British English), the term had its heyday at the time of the first world war but it is still in use today:
Another option is Albion. This is not a nickname however, it is more of an archaic name and tends to be used with more reverence than familiarity. I have never heard it used in speech but I have read it often enough. According to Wikipedia, its etymology is
The Brittonic name for the island, Latinized as Albiō and Hellenized as Ἀλβίων, derives from the Proto-Celtic nasal stem *Albi̯iū (oblique *Albiion-) and survived in Old Irish as Albu, genitive Albann, originally referring to Britain as a whole, but later restricted to northern Britain/Scotland (giving the modern Scottish Gaelic name for Scotland, Alba). The root, *albiio- also found in Gaulish and Galatian albio- "world" and Welsh elfydd (Old Welsh elbid) "earth, world, land, country, district", and may be related to other European and Mediterranean toponyms such as Alpes and Albania. It has two possible etymologies: either *albho-, a Proto-Indo-European root meaning "white" (perhaps in reference to the white southern shores of the island, though Celtic linguist Xavier Delamarre argued that it originally meant "the world above, the visible world", in opposition to "the world below", i.e., the underworld in Celtic religion), or *alb-, Proto-Indo-European for "hill".
"John Bull" is the personification-phrase most people associate with Great Britain.
There is a newish nickname for the UK, but it's not a flattering term, quite the opposite in fact. It's been gaining territory as far as I can tell from the late nineteen nineties, but I could be mistaken. It's a nickname that constantly crops up in The Daily Telegraph comment pages, mostly used by "middle-class" men and women who preach to the choir from their soap boxes.
Broken Britain refers to a Great Britain that no longer works, it is a derogatory epithet aimed at the alleged substandard care provided by the National Health Service, the crumbling welfare state, and the (still alleged) rise in serious and petty crimes.
Wikipedia has this to say
David Cameron has referred to "Broken Britain" during his time as leader of the Conservative Party, and pledged to "fix" Broken Britain during the campaign for the 2010 general election. In September 2009, The Sun announced that it would back the Conservatives in the 2010 election, having supported the Labour Party in 1997, 2001 and 2005, stating that Labour had "failed on law and order". Iain Duncan Smith published two reports, "Breakdown Britain" and "Breakthrough Britain", dealing with similar themes, through the Centre for Social Justice.
By contrast, The Guardian ran a series of articles in 2010 questioning this theme, under the title "Is Britain Broken?".
protected by tchrist♦ Jul 11 '17 at 4:30
Thank you for your interest in this question.
Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).
Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?