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British vs. English: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
British refers to anything related to the United Kingdom, while English specifically relates to England and its culture, language, or people.
British vs. English

Key Differences

British encompasses the United Kingdom, including England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. English, however, is specific to England, one of the UK's countries.
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British culture includes diverse traditions from its constituent countries. English culture is specific to England, showcasing its unique customs and heritage.
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The term British often represents the collective identity of the UK in international contexts. In contrast, English represents England's distinct identity within the UK.
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British law and politics involve the entire UK. English law and politics refer specifically to the systems and institutions within England.
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British history encompasses the shared and individual histories of the UK's countries. English history focuses on England's historical events and figures.
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Comparison Chart

Geography

Pertains to the UK, including four countries
Specific to England only
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National Identity

Collective identity of UK's people
Identity specific to people of England
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Political Representation

Represents the whole UK in global matters
Represents England within the UK context
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Cultural Heritage

Mix of cultures from UK's countries
Specific to English traditions and customs
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Language

Encompasses all UK accents and dialects
Refers specifically to the English language
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British and English Definitions

British

Involving the collective cultures of the UK.
British cuisine is quite diverse.
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English

Pertaining to England or its people.
English history is fascinating.
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British

Denoting the various dialects and accents in the UK.
His British accent was quite prominent.
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English

Denoting the specific accent of England.
His English accent was quite distinct.
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British

Associated with the UK's political and legal systems.
British laws are quite comprehensive.
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English

Relating to the language spoken in England.
They speak English fluently.
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British

Pertaining to the people of the UK.
British citizens voted in the elections.
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English

Associated with English culture and traditions.
English tea time is a famous tradition.
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British

Of or relating to Great Britain or its people, language, or culture.
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Oct 19, 2023

English

Of, relating to, or characteristic of England or its people or culture.
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Oct 19, 2023

British

Of or relating to the United Kingdom or the Commonwealth of Nations.
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Oct 19, 2023

English

Of or relating to the English language.
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British

Of or relating to the ancient Britons.
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English

(used with a pl. verb) The people of England.
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Oct 19, 2023

British

(used with a pl. verb) The people of Great Britain.
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English

The West Germanic language of England, the United States, and other countries that are or have been under English influence or control.
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Oct 19, 2023

British

British English.
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English

The English language of a particular time, region, person, or group of persons
American English.
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Oct 19, 2023

British

The Celtic language of the ancient Britons.
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Oct 19, 2023

English

A translation into or an equivalent in the English language.
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Oct 19, 2023

British

Of or pertaining to Great Britain or to its inhabitants; - sometimes restricted to the original inhabitants.
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Oct 19, 2023

English

A course or individual class in the study of English language, literature, or composition.
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British

People of Great Britain.
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English

The spin given to a propelled ball by striking it on one side or releasing it with a sharp twist.
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Oct 19, 2023

British

The people of Great Britain
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English

Bodily movement in an effort to influence the movement of a propelled object; body English.
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Oct 19, 2023

British

Of or relating to or characteristic of Great Britain or its people or culture;
His wife is British
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English

To translate into English.
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British

Relating to the United Kingdom.
The British government announced new policies.
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English

To adapt into English; Anglicize.
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Oct 19, 2023

English

Spinning or rotary motion given to a ball around the vertical axis, as in billiards or bowling.
You can't hit it directly, but maybe if you give it some english.
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Oct 19, 2023

English

An unusual or unexpected interpretation of a text or idea, a spin, a nuance.
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Oct 19, 2023

English

Of or pertaining to England, or to its inhabitants, or to the present so-called Anglo-Saxon race.
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Oct 19, 2023

English

Collectively, the people of England; English people or persons.
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Oct 19, 2023

English

The language of England or of the English nation, and of their descendants in America, India, and other countries.
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Oct 19, 2023

English

A kind of printing type, in size between Pica and Great Primer. See Type.
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Oct 19, 2023

English

A twist or spinning motion given to a ball in striking it that influences the direction it will take after touching a cushion or another ball.
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Oct 19, 2023

English

To translate into the English language; to Anglicize; hence, to interpret; to explain.
Those gracious acts . . . may be Englished more properly, acts of fear and dissimulation.
Caxton does not care to alter the French forms and words in the book which he was Englishing.
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Oct 19, 2023

English

To strike (the cue ball) in such a manner as to give it in addition to its forward motion a spinning motion, that influences its direction after impact on another ball or the cushion.
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English

An Indo-European language belonging to the West Germanic branch; the official language of Britain and the United States and most of the Commonwealth countries
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English

The people of England
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English

The discipline that studies the English language and literature
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English

(sports) the spin given to a ball by striking it on one side or releasing it with a sharp twist
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English

Of or relating to or characteristic of England or its culture;
English history
The English landed aristocracy
English literature
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English

Referring to the legal and educational systems in England.
The English legal system is well-established.
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

What is the English culture?

It refers to the customs, traditions, and heritage specific to England.
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Is "English" synonymous with "British"?

No, "English" specifically refers to things pertaining to England.
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Are British and English citizens the same?

All English are British, but not all British are English, as British includes more countries.
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Can "British" refer to language?

Yes, it can refer to various dialects and accents in the UK.
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Nov 10, 2023

Does "British" include Scottish and Welsh aspects?

Yes, it encompasses cultures and identities from Scotland and Wales too.
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Does "British" imply a unified national identity?

Yes, it represents a collective identity of the UK's diverse nations.
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Nov 10, 2023

Does "British" refer to a specific language?

It generally refers to the different dialects and accents in the UK, not a separate language.
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Nov 10, 2023

What areas does "British" cover?

It covers the United Kingdom, including England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
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Are British politics and English politics the same?

British politics refers to the UK as a whole, while English politics is specific to England.
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Are cultural expressions like art and music different?

Yes, English art and music specifically represent England, while British encompasses a wider range of cultural expressions from the UK.
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Nov 10, 2023

Is the English legal system different from the British?

Yes, English law specifically applies to England, while British law includes the entire UK.
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Do British and English share the same public holidays?

Not always; some public holidays are specific to England, while others are celebrated across the UK.
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Is the term "English" ever used to describe the entire UK?

No, "English" is exclusively used for things pertaining to England.
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Nov 10, 2023

Can someone be English but not British?

No, English people are inherently British, as England is part of the UK.
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Nov 10, 2023

Can an event be both British and English?

Yes, if it pertains to both the UK as a whole and specifically to England.
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Nov 10, 2023

Are English traditions different from British traditions?

Yes, English traditions are specific to England, while British traditions are more inclusive of all UK countries.
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Nov 10, 2023

Is the English accent the same as the British accent?

No, the English accent is specific to England, while British accents include a variety from all over the UK.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 10, 2023

Is "English" used to describe people from outside England?

No, it specifically refers to people from England.
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Nov 10, 2023

Do British and English have the same historical context?

Not exactly; British history includes all UK countries, while English history is specific to England.
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Nov 10, 2023

Is there a difference in education systems?

Yes, the English education system is specific to England, while British may refer to the broader UK education systems.
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Nov 10, 2023

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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