Brit·​ish ˈbri-tish How to pronounce British (audio)
: the Celtic language of the ancient Britons
plural in construction : the people of Great Britain or the Commonwealth of Nations
British adjective
Britishism noun
Britishness noun

Examples of British in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The hotel company that developed the retro-chic TWA Hotel at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport has bought London’s iconic BT Tower, one of London’s most conspicuous buildings, from British Telecoms Group for $347 million. Suzanne Rowan Kelleher, Forbes, 21 Feb. 2024 His invitation comes just over two years after a London court cleared him on charges of grabbing a woman’s breast, shoving a cabin crew member and urinating on a passenger’s seat on a British Airways flight from Tennessee after a World Golf Championships event. Doug Ferguson, USA TODAY, 21 Feb. 2024 On Wednesday, the Prince of Wales, 41, presented the Game of Thrones star and her mother, Jennifer Clarke, with Most Excellent Order of the British Empire medals in recognition of their services to people with brain injuries as founders of the charity SameYou. Janine Henni, Peoplemag, 21 Feb. 2024 The Prince of Wales, 41, presented Clarke, 37, and her mother with Most Excellent Order of the British Empire medals in recognition of their services to people with brain injuries. Maureen Lee Lenker,, 21 Feb. 2024 The 2005 novel, a New York Times best-seller that won the Locus and British Fantasy Awards, is being adapted by Dark Horse Comics, which has set screenwriter and comics author Marc Bernardin to pen what will be an eight-issue miniseries. Borys Kit, The Hollywood Reporter, 21 Feb. 2024 But by the end of the nineteenth century, economic failures and a defeat at the hands of the British in the Opium Wars had brought China to a point of existential crisis. Rana Mitter, Foreign Affairs, 20 Feb. 2024 The two friends also reminisced about attending last year’s British Fashion Awards, where Martine won British menswear designer of the year—an honor that took her completely by surprise. Chelsea Daniel, Vogue, 20 Feb. 2024 By comparison, the British Airways Concorde flew at a cruising speed of 1350 miles per hour, more than twice the speed of sound, making it from New York to London in under three hours in February 1996. Megan Cerullo, CBS News, 20 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'British.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English Bruttische of Britain, from Old English Brettisc, from Brettas Britons, of Celtic origin; akin to Welsh Brython Briton

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of British was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near British

Cite this Entry

“British.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
plural British : the people of Great Britain or their descendants
: the English language as spoken in England


2 of 2 adjective
: of or relating to the original people of Britain
: of or relating to Great Britain or the British
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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