Names and Nicknames for the English. (Past and Present)

Knoji reviews products and up-and-coming brands we think you'll love. In certain cases, we may receive a commission from brands mentioned in our guides. Learn more.
names for the English, historic names for the English, Roman names for the English, Saxon names for the English, Norman names for the English, other nationalities names for the English, regional names of the English, English regional names, nicknames for

The English have been known by many names throughout their colourful history, some good, some bad and some more than fitting.

Below is an account of how the English first became known as the English, followed by some names the English have been known as by their foreign neighbours and then a list of regional names or nicknames which the English call each other.

Of course there have been many derogatory names attributed to this small island nation which has perpetually stuck its nose into the business of others over the years, but I will omit these terms, not wishing to incite any racial dis-harmony.


Back in the day, when the English ran around in fur loincloths and branded wooden clubs aloft, the Romans came a visiting and liked these Island people so much, they decided to stay for a few hundred years.

The Romans knew England then as Albion but they changed its name to Britannia and its people's name to Britons, after the Roman consul Brutus of Troy, soon after their invasion in AD 55.

Since then the word British, Britisher or Brits, has come to mean anyone from the United Kingdom, or Great Britain, but it's origins pertained at first just to the English.

In AD 410, the last Roman left England (Hurray) but the celebrating was short lived, as soon after - around the middle of the 5th century - the Saxons came to visit.

Truth be told, the islanders did not mind these Germanic people so much, they had a very similar culture to their own, lived in tribal colonies, much as they did and the Saxons helped the islanders secure their lands against sea borne raids from other invaders. After the Romans, they were not letting another brutal, invading force such as they, back on their shores.

The two cultures worked together, conducted business together and married into each others cultures, leading to the Saxon people naming these island people Angles, after their homeland area of Angelin in Saxony, Germany. This led to the combined cultures being known as Anglo - Saxon.

In 1066 the Normans came a calling, killed the English King and put their Norman King on the throne in his place.

This King, William the Conqueror, wasn't a bad sort and became the first man to rule over a complete England - before this England was divided into small, tribal kingdoms, something the new king put an end to - and he called his whole, new country, Angleterre (Land of the Angles) and its people the Anglais.

However, not wishing to lose their identity or their Germanic / Saxon roots, the Angles changed these new French sounding names to the more Germanic sounding, England for their country and English for its people and language. 

The word Angle has become the stem word for the name Anglia, which went on to become the new Latin word for England and the word, Anglo which even to this day, pertains to anything English, from it's people, culture or language.

Since those early days several names have been attributed to the English.



Times of war seemed to have conjured up a few nicknames that have lasted the test of time, including the name Redcoats, a name attributed to 17th century soldiers, owing to their bright red jackets and the more common names of Limey given to British sailors and Tommy given to WWI soldiers.

The term Limey was first coined by people of the Caribbean and goes back to the practise of giving sailors lime juice to stave off scurvy, a condition caused through lack of vitamin C, on long voyages.

The name Tommy was given to WWI British soldiers after military sign up papers used the name Tommy Atkins as an example to help them fill in their forms.

The name Pom means product of Mother England, but upon realisation that there were just as many prisoners sent to the Antipodean colonies from Scotland, Ireland and Wales, then went on to mean product of the Motherland and was attributed to the British by the Australians and New Zealanders after the time of the transportation of convicts to British penal colonies there.

The name Sais or Sassenach, is a name coined by our Celtic brothers in Scotland, Wales and Ireland, and simply means Saxon, as that is the name of the race from which the English culture derives.

Other names coined for the English by our European neighbours are, Rosbif, by the French, which simply means roast beef, and pertains to the British national dish, and the name Inselaffen used in Germany, which means Island Monkeys. Despite the reference to monkeys, the term is not derogatory, quite the reverse actually, as the term comes from the German's amazement at how agile British builders are when climbing ladders and scaffolding on building sites.

The Arabic people call the English, Angrez, a word which comes from the French, Anglais, and pertains solely to white, English people of Anglo - Saxon origins.

In Thailand, the English are known as Angrit, another word that also stems from the French, Anglais.


All over England, different towns, cities and counties, have their own regional names - demonyms - for their people, most of which are quite elemental, once you realise the roots of the word. Many of these names sound quite derogatory, although few if any, are considered offensive.

Below is a list of some of these English names that have been used by it's people over the years which are still used to this day.

Brummies - Is the name attributed to people of the City of Birmingham. The name comes from the Old English name for the city, Brummagen, which has led to the city being known as Brum and its people Brummies.

Carrot Cruncher - Is the name attributed to the people from the county of Norfolk, due to it's large carrot producing industry.

Clay Head - Is the name for people from the city of Stoke - on - Trent, thus called, as the city has been the centre of the British ceramics industry for over 200 years.

Cockney - Is the colloquial term for people from the East End of London, so named because some working class children asked an upper class gent the question ' do cocks neigh'? Meaning, do cockerels make the same noise as a horse. The upper classes then went on to use this term for the working class population of London's East End. It was meant as a derogatory term to humiliate the uneducated, but today is worn as a badge of pride.

The official name for people from the rest of the capital, are simply referred to as Londoners.

Donkey lashers - Despite the harsh title this is actually a fun name that is attributed to the people of Blackpool, a holiday resort in North West England. The name donkey lasher stems from the Victorian practice of riding donkeys upon the beach, a beloved past time still favoured on English beaches to this day.

Geordie - is the name attributed to the people of the Tyneside area in north east England. The word is a derivative of the man's name George, as it was apparently the most common name for boys in that area.

Janner - Is a name attributed to anyone who speaks with a Devon accent, but was originally used as naval slang to mean anyone from the Devon town of Plymouth. The name came about because of the way the West Country folk pronounce the common boys name John = Jan. 

Manc - Is the name for someone from Manchester, and is just a shortened word for the city of Manchester, although the people from Manchester are better known as Mancunions, today.

Moonrakers - Is the name for people from the south coast county of Wiltshire and goes back to 17th century smuggling days. Apparently, some local customs officials came upon some men using a rake in a pond, one moonlit night. When asked what they were up to, the men told the officials that they were trying to rake up the moon from the pond. Upon hearing this, the customs officials thought the men completely stupid and of no interest to them, and left them to their devices. Of course these stupid men were non other than smugglers, raking up hidden booty left at the bottom of the pond some nights before.

Monkey Hangers - Is a term attributed to the people of Hartlepool in north east England. This term derives from an old legend that says during the Napoleonic wars of the 17th century, a boat sailed into the harbour at Hartlepool and off jumped a monkey. The fine folk of Hartlepool had never seen a Frenchman before and thought the monkey was indeed a Frenchman. They promptly had him arrested, tried and put to death by hanging, as an enemy of the state.

Norfolk Dumpling - Another name for people from the county of Norfolk, which takes it roots from the area's local delicacy of dumplings.

Overers - Is


Rox B
Posted on Jun 1, 2011
Val Mills
Posted on Apr 22, 2011
lucia anna
Posted on Apr 22, 2011
Posted on Apr 22, 2011
Jerry Walch
Posted on Apr 22, 2011
Abdel-moniem El-Shorbagy
Posted on Apr 21, 2011
John Smither
Posted on Apr 21, 2011