Great Britain

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

Of the island of Great Britain, to disambiguate Britain from 'Brittany' (i.e. Lesser Britain).

From Middle English Great Brittaigne, Grete Britaigne, Grete breteygne, grete Bretayne, grete breteyne, parallelling Anglo-Norman la Grande Brettayne and 12th-century Latin maior Britannia. Equivalent to Great +‎ Britain.

King James VI and I in 1604 proclaimed himself "King of Great Britain, France and Ireland".

Proper noun[edit]

Great Britain

  1. The island (and sometimes including some of the surrounding smaller islands) off the north-west coast of Europe made up of England, Scotland, and Wales. Abbreviation: GB.
  2. England, Scotland and Wales in combination.
  3. (historical or loosely) The United Kingdom. (This was the official name of the Kingdom of Great Britain from 1707-1801.)

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