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Alternative forms[edit]


From Latin Brittania, presumably from Celtic. Doublet of Britain.


  • IPA(key): /ˈbɹɪtəni/
  • (file)

Proper noun[edit]


  1. A region in northwestern France. [from 15th c.]
  2. (obsolete, chiefly poetic) The British Isles. [15th–19th c.]
    • 1596, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Qveene. [], London: [] [John Wolfe] for VVilliam Ponsonbie, OCLC 960102938, book IV, canto 11:
      The noble Thamis […] seem'd to stoupe afore / With bowed backe, by reason of the lode / And auncient heavy burden which he bore / Of that faire City, wherein make abode / So many learned impes, that shoote abrode, / And with their braunches spred all Britany […].
  3. A female given name transferred from the place name, of 1980s and 1990s American usage.
    • 1990 Alice Munro, Friend of My Youth, →ISBN, page 102:
      - - - No one has family names. These girls with rooster hair I see on the streets. They pick the names. They're the mothers." "I have a granddaughter named Brittany," Hazel said. " And I have heard of a little girl called Cappuccino." "Cappuccino! Is that true? Why don't they call one Cassaulet? Fettuccini? Alsace-Lorraine?"
    • 1999 Andrew Pyper, Lost Girls: Chapter Ten:
      Names of the times. Borrowed from soap opera characters of prominence fifteen years ago, who have since been replaced by spiffy new models: the social-climbing Brittany now an unscrupulous Burke, the generous Pamela a refitted, urbanized Parker.
  4. (prison slang) Coward
  5. (dogs) A breed of gun dog.

Related terms[edit]


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