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Etymology

2013

By Amelia Meyer

Etymology

Etymology refers to the study of the history of words and names. The origin of certain name places, such as England (for example), tells an important story about the ancient heritage of the land and the people that once inhabited it.

England’s name originally comes from the term .Land of the Angles., which was translated to Engla Land in Old English.




Replica of a decorated gold and silver Anglo-Saxon
helmet

Replica of a decorated gold and silver Anglo-Saxon helmet found at the Sutton Hoo archeological site in East Anglia.

The Angles were an ancient Germanic (or Saxon) tribe, one of the few that occupied the region now known as England during the Early Middle Ages (a period that stretched from about 400 to 1000 of our Common Era, or CE). This tribe hailed from an area in the Bay of Kiel known as the Angeln Peninsula. This is situated in the Baltic Sea.??

The first time any mention of the name for modern-day England was used was in the first century of our Common Era. In this instance, Tacitus used the Latin word, Anglii. The first time the word .England. was used in reference to the bottom part of the Great Britain area was in 897 CE. The first time it was spelt as it is today was in 1538. When used in conjunction with another term (such as Saxon, representing the ancient Germanic tribes), this word becomes Anglo- (that is, Anglo-Saxon).

Another name for England is .Albion., which was originally used to refer to the entire area of Great Britain. The origin of this term is not clear. It could be from the Latin word meaning .white. (albus), which would refer to the iconic White Cliffs of Dover. These are the first sight to greet many ocean-bound travellers arriving in England for the first time. Alternatively, there could have been an island called Albiones, since one was mentioned in Massaliote Periplus, which was a merchant’s handbook in ancient times. Today, the term Albion is still sometimes used in reference to England in poems and classic literary works.




Loegria is another name for the country of England. This name is usually used in a romantic context and refers to the Welsh word .Lloegr., which hails from the legend of King Arthur.

England’s history is a complex one. Peering into the many names it has been given and their origins reveal elements of this rich heritage, peeling away the layers to uncover a land of extraordinary origins.

What was England called before it was called England?

The Thames River is the longest river in England and is most likely where the name of the island was derived from. One theory suggests that it derives from the Latin “tameis” which means ‘river’. There is another similar Irish word – “Tamesas” – which means ‘dark’ or ‘dark-haired.’ Historians are not sure which word came first, but the ‘river’ is more likely as there are other places around the world called after rivers – for example, the Severn River in Wales or the Avon River near Christchurch in New Zealand.

The name ‘England’ has nothing to do with English people – even though the English were called “Angles” for a brief period of time, and we use the term ‘Anglo-Saxon’ to describe their culture and language. This is because they came from a place called Angeln in northern Germany. The Angles began arriving about 500 BC and gradually settled over the following centuries. Another German tribe, the Saxons, also settled in England during this time.

The first use of the name “Engla-lond”, which means ‘land of the Angles’ was recorded by a West-Saxon historian named Bede who wrote about its origins after King Alfred the Great’s reign in the 9th century.

The Romans called England “Britannia” or “Brittania”, which is why England’s short name is ‘Britain’. The people of England were also known as ‘British’, but this term is rarely used for them today.

What is England’s Other name?

England’s name is derived from the Angles.

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle suggests that the Angles take their name from an “Angul”, a word which gave many of their descendants’ names, including the modern Anglic. The term “Englaland” was therefore originally just a description of where they came from and not a name for the country itself. The Angles were one of the Germanic tribes who settled in Great Britain during the Early Middle Ages.

Today is St. George’s Day, celebrated throughout England, and also in several other countries with significant ties to the English nation. It has been a public holiday in England since 1222. While St George is the patron saint of many other countries, and his cross is a common sight on flags and coats-of-arms (in particular those representing areas with strong connections to the crusades), he has no official day of celebration in these places.

Why is St Georges Day Celebrated?

Today is St George’s Day, celebrated throughout England, and also in several other countries with significant ties to the English nation. It has been a public holiday in England since 1222. While St George is the patron saint of many other countries, and his cross is a common sight on flags and coats-of-arms (in particular those representing areas with strong connections to the crusades), he has no official day of celebration in these places.

What did the UK use to be called?

Britain or Great Britain. Although at times it has also been called Albion, the name ‘United Kingdom of Great Britain’ (or just ‘Great Britain’) was first used in the Act of Union on 1 May 1707 to refer to England and Scotland. The terms ‘Great Britain’ and ‘United Kingdom’ are often used interchangeably in non-British sources.

When did the UK get its name?

The official full name of the country, used in international treaties and by national governments, is ‘United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland’. It was first used in 1927 by George V, Emperor of India. Separate commonwealth nations with significant degrees of self-government also use the term ‘British’ to describe themselves.

What is in a name? Everything! The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the official full name) was formed when the Irish and British parliaments merged in January 1801 under King George III: its shorter version, the United Kingdom (UK), was adopted when the parliaments of Wales and Scotland also merged with that of England in May 1800.

The full name was only officially established when the Irish Free State left the United Kingdom in December 1922, but it has been in use ever since. In 1927 George V decided to drop all territorial claims over Northern Ireland from the monarch’s title, but the name remained.

Why is this important?

It helps to know who you are talking about when using acronyms, or abbreviations. The UK can be used as an abbreviation for many different things – the United Kingdom, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Island, United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland – so it is important to know which one is being used.

What is the root word of British?

The word “British” is a noun and a nationality. The root word of all this? Well, it’s the suffix -ish. English words ending in -ish generally mean “somewhat,” so British means somewhat British. Other examples include Irish, Scottish, Italian, Spanish — they’re all adjectives rather than proper nouns, so they mean somewhat or a little Irish, Scottish, Italian or Spanish, respectively.

It’s not the most interesting answer in this list but it is correct. We would have been surprised if anyone said Dutch as the root word given that colors are named after countries, but we still don’t think it’s correct. In fact, recent research suggests that the prefix “Dutch” was first associated with Germanic languages because of the way they were spoken in The Netherlands.

We would have also accepted -ish as being a suffix to indicate an informal version of something. Things ending with -ch are sometimes adverbs, but sometimes they’re just short versions of words ending with -ic.

The other answers in the top five are British, British English, and the British Isles.