One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Relating to Great Britain or the United Kingdom, or to its people or language.
- ‘In fact, the first seven presidents of the United States were born as British subjects.’
- ‘Friends say she is rather shy, retiring and eccentric in the best British sense.’
- ‘This is one of only two dates she is playing in Ireland as part of her British and Irish tour.’
- ‘Have you been watching the Olympic Games, and if so, what do you think of the British effort so far?’
- ‘We would not have had a united movement and we would have failed a generation of British Muslims.’
- ‘Yet objective truth is not much mentioned nowadays in connection with the British press.’
- ‘Over a month, this means that such a film will only be seen on 20 British cinema screens.’
- ‘Indeed, some saw British institutions as engaged in an elaborate plot against them.’
- ‘I went back for a Spring Fair, looking for British goods for the shop we now have.’
- ‘I call the British embassy to see if they're having anything to do with all this.’
- ‘The service commemorated Iraqi military and civilian dead as well as British losses.’
- ‘So, if British farmers are to have a future, they must market themselves on their quality.’
- ‘Is all this just one other sign of the times: the gradual dumbing down of British society?’
- ‘In truth the problems facing the American and British governments are of their own making.’
- ‘Research shows that British parents who wish to select the sex of their baby are just as likely to wish for a girl as a boy.’
- ‘Can it really be that William Hague has struck a chord with the British people?’
- ‘An interesting aspect is that it also helps its clients understand the British way of working.’
- ‘If only British builders were as receptive to gifts of bread, biscuits and pineapples.’
- ‘Some in the British establishment seem happy to support a war, so long as they don't have to fight in it.’
- ‘The poll also acts as an interesting reflection of what is important in British society today.’
2Of the British Commonwealth or (formerly) the British Empire.
- ‘The inability of Britishness to act as a focus for Australian policies and priorities left a void in the Australian self-image.’
nounas plural noun the British
The British people.
- ‘Almost from the time of European contact it was disputed by the British and the French.’
- ‘It also fits the change in attitude of the Americans and the British towards armed conflict.’
- ‘We might also consider why so many Americans hate the British and all other Europeans.’
- ‘So in Kenya the British managed to contrive a land system similar to the clearances in Britain.’
- ‘For many of the British and American troops massing near Iraq, this is also the reality.’
- ‘Could we, the British, or indeed any nation, have behaved as badly as the Germans did?’
- ‘One strategy is to try and wean the British off their age-old preference for cod.’
- ‘We may also note that war itself has a particular significance for the British.’
- ‘It followed an ultimatum from the British that the Irish agree to their terms or face the renewal of war.’
- ‘The people who voted on Sunday were not the British, nor the Europeans, but the French.’
- ‘At Arnhem, the British met much stiffer opposition than they had been lead to believe.’
- ‘Even if he had taken Paris, the Americans and the British would have continued to fight.’
- ‘Here he witnessed at first hand the lack of comprehension between the British and French.’
- ‘To the British and Americans, however, it was central to their conduct of the war.’
- ‘Over many years the Bengal army had fought faithfully for the British, but on their own terms.’
- ‘Almost twice that number are killed by the British and Americans after they invade Iraq.’
- ‘Do you really think that the British would want to lose their national identity?’
- ‘The courage of the Indian troops who fought with the British and the Gurkhas was never in doubt.’
- ‘We should send the President home with a message from the British to the American people.’
- ‘Seemingly unable to influence events in Palestine, the British looked for a way out.’
Old English Brettisc ‘relating to the ancient Britons’, from Bret ‘Briton’, from Latin Britto, or its Celtic equivalent.
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