John Bull

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World War I recruiting poster featuring John Bull


Introduced by Dr. John Arbuthnot.

Proper noun[edit]

John Bull

  1. A personification of England
    Coordinate terms: Johnny Canuck, Uncle Sam
    • 1862, Dickens, 'One Grand Tour Deserves Another'[1]:
      How much longer are we English to assist foreign nations in misunderstanding us, by holding up that ridiculous lay-figure of our race known by the style and title of John Bull?
  2. (by extension) Something that is stereotypically English.
    • 2005, David W. Moore, The Other British Isles, →ISBN, page 183:
      Thatched cottages, manors, old mills, venerable churches and wooded lanes personify a John Bull fancy, neatly tucked into gentle hill folds.
    • 2015, Fiona Farrell, The Villa at the Edge of the Empire, →ISBN, page 52:
      Next door to all that noble intention stood a bluff old John Bull of a hotel, Warners, now a pub and backpackers, and next to that, until 1993, a cinema, the last of several that had sprung up around the Square as temples of modernity.