Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • An island off the western coast of Europe comprising England, Scotland, and Wales. It is separated from the mainland by the English Channel and from Ireland by the Irish Sea.
  • See United Kingdom.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • proper n. The island (and sometimes including some of the surrounding smaller islands) off the north-west coast of Europe made up of England, Scotland and Wales.
  • proper n. shortened form of the United Kingdom of Great Britain (1707-1801) Abbreviation: GB.
  • proper n. the UK.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a monarchy in northwestern Europe occupying most of the British Isles; divided into England and Scotland and Wales and Northern Ireland; `Great Britain' is often used loosely to refer to the United Kingdom
  • n. an island comprising England and Scotland and Wales

Etymologies

Of the island of Great Britain, to disambiguate from Britain 'Brittany'. In Middle English (late 13th century) as Bretaygne the Grete, imitating Anglo-Norman la Grande Brettayne and 12th-century Latin maior Britannia. King James VI and I in 1604 proclaimed himself "King of Great Britain, France and Ireland". (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • On this day in 1997, "The people's princess" was the label Great Britain's newly elected

    Clovis News Journal : News

  • But an enemy fleet strong enough to shut off Great Britain from the short cuts north and south of Ireland would certainly be strong enough to command the roundabout way as well; for it would be close to its base on the west coast of Ireland, while ships coming round by the north of Scotland would be far from their own.

    Flag and Fleet How the British Navy Won the Freedom of the Seas

  • Steele, the rogue, has done the imprudentest thing in the world: he said something in a Tatler, [20] that we ought to use the word Great Britain, and not England, in common conversation, as, "The finest lady in Great Britain," etc.

    The Journal to Stella

  • In a letter written on Aug. 8, 1738, again mentioning England, he adds, ” 'Pox on the modern phrase Great Britain, which is only to distinguish it from Little Britain, where old clothes and old books are to be bought and sold' (Swift's Works, 1803, xx.

    Life Of Johnson

  • In a country such as Great Britain, which is well advanced in the art of self-government, intolerant and indiscriminate abuse of public men defeats its own object, and misstatements of matters of fact can be at once exposed and refuted.

    Forty-one years in India From Subaltern To Commander-In-Chief

  • We steamed close alongside the 'Great Britain' -- which has for some time been the crack ship between Australia and England.

    A Boy's Voyage Round the World

  • Steele, the rogue, has done the imprudentest thing in the world: he said something in a Tatler, [20] that we ought to use the word Great Britain, and not England, in common conversation, as, “The finest lady in Great

    The Journal to Stella

  • The austere times — shared by Great Britain, which is not a member of the eurozone but has begun a program of deficit reduction — can't be good for the U.S. economy, either.

    Ireland's debt crisis, austerity offer a lesson for Obama

  • The Guardian style guide counsels against using mainland to refer to Great Britain in reports about Northern Ireland Not the end of history yet, 4 April, page 30.

    Corrections and clarifications

  • Once upon a time there was a proud and mighty nation called Great Britain that ruled almost three quarters of the world and whose name brought genuine respect all over the world by the mere mention of its name and real fear in the heart of even the most callous and murderous of men like Hitler and Mussolini.

    On Thursday, the Legg report will be published along with...

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