We’re all from somewhere and oftentimes the places where we were born or where we live brands us with unique nicknames based on something from the area’s history or in its culture. While the United States has nicknames for people like Cajun (Louisiana), Tarheel (North Carolina), and Hoosier (Indiana), amongst others, places in the United Kingdom have their own colorful sobriquets. While this list is not exhaustive, we have identified ten of these regional nicknames below. You can let us know some of your own favorite local labels and their histories in the comments.
Glaswegian/Weedjie – Glasgow
Referring both to a person from Glasgow as well as their local Scots dialect, “Glaswegian” is a term used much the same as Norwegian or Galwegian, with the “-ian” meaning “inhabitant of”, while the “weg” part of the name derives from an old spelling of Norway as “Norwegia”. A variation of this spelling is “Weedjie”, though it is used more to refer to people from the suburban areas around Glasgow than to the city’s inhabitants.
Geordie – Newcastle
Typically reserved for people from Newcastle, “Geordie” has in the past also been used for anyone from North East England or Tyneside (the area around the River Tyne). There’s speculation as to how the nickname came about, but it seems to be related to the belief that “George” was a common name for coal miners in the area, while a competing theory is that it came from the “Geordie lamp” created by George Stephenson that the miners used.
Liverpudlian/Scouser – Liverpool
Liverpudlian as it refers to those from Liverpool, had its first recorded use in 1833. It’s believed that the term is a joke on the city’s name, wherein “puddle” replaces “pool”. Scouser is another term for the city’s residents, derived from a stew known as “lobscouse” that was eaten by people in the area. The term became popular across Britain due to the sitcom “Till Death Do Us Part”.
Brummie – Birmingham
People from Birmingham are known as “Brummies” due mostly to the ancient name for the city, which was “Brummagem” or “Bromwichham”. “Brummagem” is also a local name for Birmingham as well as the dialect of English used there.
Janner – Devon/Plymouth
This nickname for people from the Devon/Devonshire and the City of Plymouth is perhaps the most recently-created regional nickname on this list. Cyril Tawney has the first recorded use of “Janner” in his 1987 book Grey Funnel Lines and says it derived from “Cousin Jan” with Jan being a Devonshire spelling of John.
Monkey-Hanger – Hartlepool
This sea town in County Durham has one of the more interesting nicknames and an equally interesting history to go with it. The story goes that during the Napoleonic Wars, a French shipwrecked off the coast after a storm. The ship’s only survivor was a monkey dressed in a French military uniform that was kept as a ship’s pet. The townspeople proceeded to have a mock trial at the end of which the monkey was hanged
Moonraker – Swindon/Wiltshire
Not just the title of a James Bond film, this nickname for people from Wiltshire comes from an old folk tale from the time when Wiltshire fell along some major smuggling routes. Locals allegedly hid French brandy barrels in a pond and when they went back for it at night, were caught by the tax authorities. The locals made up a story claiming they were going to rake a round cheese while pointing at the moon and the authorities laughed it off and let them go.
Yellow Belly – Lincolnshire
This isn’t saying that people from Lincolnshire are cowards, far from it. In fact, the term “Yellow Belly” as it relates to people from the area comes from a frog species native to Lincolnshire. Another suggestion comes from the Lincolnshire Regiment, whose uniforms featured yellow facings on their green jackets and fastenings that were also yellow (and also known as frogs), resembling the local amphibians.
Rat-Eye – Leicester
You might not think of it at first glance; the term “Rat-Eye” for people from Leicester has a historical basis. The area around the city had been settled by the Celts well before the Romans established their own settlement there around 47 AD. The name for their new city was Ratae Corieltauvorum, the latter half of the name deriving from the Celtic tribe. Other nicknames for people from Leicester include Chisits, Foxes, and Ben Dippers.
Godiva – Coventry
Coventry residents’ nickname comes from its most famous figure, Lady Godiva of Mercia, who allegedly rode through the city naked to convince her husband to reduce the taxes on the people.