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Demonyms

July 21, 2018

Yesterday I was in Blackpool, teaching a training course; and I learned from one of the trainees that the word for a native of Blackpool is a Sangronan. Or that at least is what it sounded like. I guessed it might be based on an old Latin word for the area (like Caledonian for a Scottish person) but I was wrong. I later googled it and found it is written Sand-Grown ‘Un – meaning, of course, someone who grew up in the sand.

Words for natives of particular towns or regions are called demonyms. Thus, the demonym for a native of London is a Londoner, of Liverpool a Liverpudlian, of Manchester a Mancunian, of Aberdeen an Aberdonian and so on. Most are based fairly closely on the actual name of the place, but others are less predictable. A native of Slough is called a Paludian, for some reason, while someone from Swansea is called a Jack. If you come from Sunderland, you are a Mackem.

But the demonym for a native of Goole is, I am glad to say, a predictable one. It is Goolie, which would be funny if you were talking about a pair of them.

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10 Comments
  1. Simon Carter permalink

    Sean Bean, being a Sheffield United fan, has a tattoo reading 100% Blade (after the clubs nickname). Had he been a Sheffield Wednesday supporter he’d have one saying 100% Owl, which isn’t as cool but a Northampton fan would have 100% Cobblers.

  2. Simon Carter permalink

    Liverpudlians are supposedly named from a music hall joke in which Liverpool was referred to as Liverpuddle. Several people are named from jokes: Monkey Hangers and Moonrakers come to mind.

    • Ah – let me guess: Monkey Hangers are from Hartlepool, right? Where they supposedly hanged a monkey in the early 19th century because they thought it was a French spy? And Moonrakers must relate to that old tale about the dim peasants who tried to get the reflection of the moon out of a pond with rakes – but I don’t know what town that’s associated with.

  3. Simon Carter permalink

    You’re right about Hartlepool. Moonraker, I think, is more generic to people from Wiltshire. Supposedly it’s from an old story of the locals fooling an excise man by telling him they thought the reflection of the moon in a pond was a round cheese they were trying to retrieve rather the booze they had hidden; he dismissed them as yokels and left them to it.

  4. Tim Crannigan permalink

    Born and raised in Slough, I’m a Paludian! I never knew that.

  5. Simon Carter permalink

    That sounds very noble! Better than being a Fish Head, Gimp or Lolly Gobbler anyway.

  6. John Dunn permalink

    Paludian comes from Latin palus, paludis, meaning ‘marsh’ or, indeed, slough (as in Slough of Despond). A number of demonyms are (pseudo-)Latin forms: the posh word for someone from Leeds is Leodiensian, though elsewhere in the West Riding they tend to be known as Loiners. There are some strange demonyms in Scotland, for example Doonhamer (Dumfries) or Gable-endies (Montrose); some of these have become nicknames for the local football team.

  7. Thank you, John, for these erudite remarks.

  8. Phyllis permalink

    Being born I Portsmouth apparently I am a Pomponian. The town is fondly known as Pompey. Not by me though. I hate the place.

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