Words ending with a suffix "an" such as American, European, and Asian are a good example of referring people living in or born in a certain place. Likewise, the suffix "er" is also very common as in New Yorker and Hong Konger.

My question is if there is any rule in English regarding which suffix to add when we would like to describe residents in a country, state, city, etc. For example, how would you call people in Denver, Colorado? Is it Denverer, Denverian, or what?

Interestingly enough, a resident of Sydney seems to be called "Sydneysider." After all, I feel there is no fixed one rule. Is there any?

2 Answers 2


These are called demonyms and there is no rule to how they're formed.

Someone from Denver is a Denverite. Wikipedia has list pages for demonyms and also usually lists the demonym for a place in each place page's infobox.

There are some wild ones. Michigan: Michigander. Indiana: Hoosier (!). Many places have more than one demonym.


Yes. There are some general rules.


  • That page lists many common forms, but does not suggest any rules for deciding which form is used when. Any attempt to write such rules would be too plagued by exceptions and counterexamples to be useful, IMO.
    – TypeIA
    Commented Apr 19, 2021 at 8:17
  • 1. Add -n to a place name ending in -a or -ia... . See definition 3 here: learnersdictionary.com/definition/rule Commented Apr 19, 2021 at 8:26

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