What is the difference between...

Old Sep 14th, 2009, 08:37 PM
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What is the difference between...

Great Britain
the United Kingdom
and
Britain

I know geographically they're all the same place, but are all of these names still used? Do they mean different things? Are they used in different ways? For example, the title on Fodor's is the UK or United Kingdom. However, the money of the UK is the gbp which I assume stands for Great Britain Pound. We commonly talk about Britain. We casually speak of the people as Brits (which I guess is better than UKs).

Whaddaya think?
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Old Sep 14th, 2009, 08:44 PM
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This is only my understanding, so please take this with a grain of salt.

United Kingdom... the whole shebang. England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and anywhere else they decide to claim.

Great Britain... the entire island made up of England, Scotland and Wales.

Britain... England and Wales.
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Old Sep 14th, 2009, 09:04 PM
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good post gtg, i'm always confused about this.
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Old Sep 14th, 2009, 10:46 PM
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Wikipedia says this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Termino..._British_Isles
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Old Sep 15th, 2009, 01:05 AM
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Blimey that article is thorough. For most visitors' practical purposes, the only thing you might need to be careful about is calling someone "English" (they might not be) or "a Brit" (which in some contexts can be meant pejoratively), though they'd have to be pretty thin-skinned to take real offence.
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Old Sep 15th, 2009, 01:28 AM
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LOL - I will always remember waiting at immigration in Uruguay while the immigration officer asked all her colleagues what the official name for 'inglaterra' was - she couldn't find it on the system.

Lets face it, most of the world refers to all of the above as 'England'.
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Old Sep 15th, 2009, 03:36 AM
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Is this in preparation for your sabbatical stay?

I would wait for people to identify themselves and then go with that.

I must say I was surprised to discover I am a Briton from Wikipedia. I always thought is was a contrived usage. To me it means those people derided by Caesar for being daubed with woad. I also learned a new word demonym.

I think the official name of the country/nation/state United Kingdom etc. explains it all.

Recent moves towards devolution add to the complications.
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Old Sep 15th, 2009, 03:40 AM
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Lets face it, most of the world refers to all of the above as 'England'.

Not unless they they wish the alienate the entire populations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland!!
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Old Sep 15th, 2009, 03:46 AM
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I'm pretty sure this is correct:

England - just England
Great Britain - England, Wales, Scotland (the whole island)
United Kingdom - the above plus Northern Island
British Isles - the above plus Republic of Ireland
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Old Sep 15th, 2009, 04:22 AM
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It's not that straightforward....

We have other countries with their own parliaments too....

Guernsey, Jersey, Sark and the Isle of Man (And I have no idea about Herm).

But in short, apart from some very bolshey peeps from N Ireland no one objects to being called British. However in Norn Iron avoid the word "Brit" as it has connotations from the Troubles.

If you seriously want to piss off a paddy, taff or jock - call them English.
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Old Sep 15th, 2009, 04:43 AM
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Well I'm fron Norn Iron and you call me a Brit if you want!

According to my passport it is the United Kingdon of Great Britian and Northern Ireland.

GBP - don't know about but I would suggest it is because Sterling is produced by the Bank of England.
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Old Sep 15th, 2009, 04:49 AM
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Hmm I think if you want to be correct it is not GBP but the Pound Sterling
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Old Sep 15th, 2009, 04:58 AM
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Our currency is called the pound sterling because that's exactly what it used to be - a pound weight of sterling silver. It's worth somewhat less now.

If you think that's archaic,our old notation for our money - LSD - was left over from the Romans.

We don't like change.
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Old Sep 15th, 2009, 05:39 AM
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GBP isn't a direct abbreviation of the name of the currency (Pound Sterling) it's just a 3 letter code assigned by the ISO. You see it a lot on Fodors because most posters are using US keyboards which make it difficult to type the £ sign. These codes generally follow a set formula, the ISO 2 letter country code, followed by an initial of the currency name - hence GBP.
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Old Sep 15th, 2009, 07:06 AM
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The British Isles is a geographical term....meaning all the islands and bits and pieces, regardless of sovereignty....
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Old Sep 15th, 2009, 07:07 AM
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Holey moley, that's complicated! And I didn't even include the British Isles!

Cowboy, the little diagram of circles on the site you provided was very helpful.

Helen, it's not really in preparation for the sabbatical, only all this reading and web browsing I've been doing made me question it because different names are used in different places, seemingly interchangeably.

Pete, I've been seeing gbp all sorts of places but I think that you're right in that not all of us want to bother finding the pound sign on our keyboards. But why would they choose those three letters if not to represent Great Britain (or Great Mitten, as they say on Monty Python). They could just as easily have chosen UKP or BIP (that would be funny) but they went with GB.

I must say that it's comforting to me to know that this wasn't an easy answer. I thought for sure it was something that everyone knew but me because I was a high-school dropout!
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Old Sep 15th, 2009, 07:42 AM
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#
alihutch on Sep 15, 09 at 06:40 AM

>

They don't worry about that - did you see Ewan McGreggor and Charlie Boorman go to New York the long way round? Ewan McGregor referred to himself as English whenever he was speaking to anyone in Eastern Europe.
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Old Sep 15th, 2009, 07:49 AM
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>>But why would they choose those three letters if not to represent Great Britain
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Old Sep 15th, 2009, 07:51 AM
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goddesstogo: You're right that "They" could have chosen to use "UK" as the ISO 2 letter code quite easily, but then one could quite legitimately ask why didn't they use "GB." If you want to do some research into the whys and wherefores of the choice then ISO-3116 and ISO-4217 are where you want to look.

The name of the country is "The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Island" which is a bit of a mouthful so you can see why contractions are popular (and for some reason "UKoGBaNI" never caught on.) Currently the accepted standard is to use "United Kingdom" or just "the UK" but this has only been standard for a relatively short period of time ( a generation or so.) Before that it was common to refer to the UKoGBaNI as just "Great Britain." I assume this fell out of vogue due to the potential confusion between "Great Britain" as a contraction of "UKoGBaNI" and "Great Britain" the name of an island. All a bit before my time, maybe some of the older posters here can add shed some light.

All this does leave some inconsistency. We tend to call the place "the United Kingdom" but according to the ISO the official code for the UK is either GB or GBR. If we take our cars abroad we use a "GB" sticker to identify them but our internet TLD is ".uk." In the Olympics our athletes parade in with the "U"s but wear uniforms labelled with "Great Britain" or more recently "Team GB."
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Old Sep 15th, 2009, 07:54 AM
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I'm English, I live in Glasgow, believe me they worry about....
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