- The people of Great Britain.
Idioms and Phrasal Verbs
Origin of british
- Middle English Brittish from Old English Bryttisc relating to the ancient Britons from Bryttas Britons of Celtic origin
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
- In Old English as Bryttisc (“Britons”) . The spelling with single -t- appears in the 13th century under the influence of Latin Britannia, but spelling with -tt- persists alongside -t- during the 13th to 17th centuries.
- In reference to the island of Great Britain from ca. 1400 (Latin natio Anglica sive Britannica, Brittisshe occean 1398, the Britishe nacion 1548). As a noun, referring to the British people, British soldiers, etc. from ca. 1600.