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Alternative forms[edit]


Inherited from Middle English Bretany, Brytany, itself borrowed from Medieval Latin Britannia, applied to Brittany from at least the 6th century, and reinforced by Middle French Bretagne. See Britannia for more. 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, “Book IV, Canto XI”, in The Faerie Queene. [], London: [] [John Wolfe] for William Ponsonbie, →OCLC:
      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, chapter 10, in Lost Girls:
      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 Borrowed from soap opera characters of prominence fifteen years ago, who have since been replaced by spiffy new models: the social-climbing Brittany now an unscrupulous Burke, the generous Pamela a refitted, urbanized Parker.

Related terms[edit]



Brittany (plural Brittanies)

  1. (prison slang) A coward.
  2. A gun dog of a particular breed.


See also[edit]