Those Darn Demonyms

January 21, 2014

DemonymsA demonym is a word used to describe the residents or natives of a place: New Yorkers, Oregonians, or Japanese, for example. Most demonyms are logical and straightforward, as in those examples. Here are some “irregular demonyms,” that, due to grammar, language, or local preference, are a little bit strange.

Mexico City. It’s slightly confusing that people from both the state of New York and New York City are both called New Yorkers. There is no demonym confusion for Mexico City. Residents are called Capitalinos—because Mexico City is the nation’s capital.

Sao Tomé and Principe. The tiny nation off the coast of Africa is made of primarily of two islands: Sao Tomé and Prîncipe. Residents are called Sao Tomean, regardless of which island they’re from.

Trinidad and Tobago. Unlike Sao Tomé and Prîncipe, residents refer to themselves as either Trinidadian or Tobagonian.

Lesotho. This country is surrounded completely by South Africa. People from this country are called Mosotho, as a group; individually, they are Bashotho.

Manchester and Oxford. People from these two major cities in England call themselves names derived from Latin—Mancunian and Oxonian, respectively.

Crete. People from the Greek island are…Cretans. (Not to be confused with cretins.)

Vatican City. There is no demonym for Vatican City. The tiny country is the headquarters of the Catholic Church, and 75 percent of the population are priests and other clergy, and citizenship is granted upon appointment. Since a nation full of priests doesn’t produce any new “natives,” there isn’t a real need for a demonym.

A few more odd demonyms:

• People from Monaco are Monagasque.

Citizens of Ivory Coast (or Cote d’Ivoire) are Ivorian.

Residents of Halifax, Nova Scotia are Haligonian.

• People from Barbados are Bajan.

• If you’re from Cyprus, then you’re a Cypriot.

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Tuzz Alek
Tuzz Alek
January 21, 2014 12:50 pm

Only residents of Halifax, Nova Scotia are Haligonian. Not every Nova Scotian.

January 21, 2014 1:39 pm

Are people from the phillipines, phillipinanian? Please say yes

January 21, 2014 1:44 pm
Reply to  nossi

They are Filipino

January 21, 2014 4:36 pm

There are different demonyms for residents of different towns in Nova Scotia besides Halifax. Here are a few.
Amherstonians are from Amherst, NS;
Liverpuddlians are from Liverpool, NS and maybe the UK as well.
Springhillers are from Springhill, NS
Lunenburgers are from Lunenburg, NS
Cape Bretoners are from the island of Cape Breton, NS

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