So we have Italians, people from Italy but British, people from Britain. The Welsh from Wales etc.

Is there a rule or do you just have to learn them all?

What would you call people from Gaul? And the speaker in the podcast was calling them Gaulians but it didn't sound right (but Gaulish sounds worse doesn't it).

Source: Native speaker who was wondering this last night in bed.

  • 1
    There's no general rule, and lots of exceptions: here's a list for countries. If you don't know or can't find out, you can add -ian in most cases, or just use the base form (without -ia or similar ending) as Gaul/Gauls, Slovene/Slovenes.
    – Stuart F
    Mar 28 at 11:44
  • @StuartF - There's also lots of cases where the demonym is different from the adjective, e.g., Jan Janssen from Sweden is a Swede (demonym) but is Swedish (adjective). Mar 28 at 11:47

2 Answers 2


The (modern English) demonym for people from the area named by the Romans as Gallia (or Gaul) is Gauls in the plural (‘The Gauls were a Celtic tribe that lived in what is modernly called France’), or Gaul in the singular (‘The comic book character Asterix was supposed to have been a Gaul.’)

  • Yes! Britons were from Britain and Gauls were from Gaul.
    – Astralbee
    Mar 28 at 11:56
  • Yes! Asterix the Gaul is the title of the English edition of the first book of the series. Astérix le gaulois in French. His name lost an acute accent for the 1969 English edition. Mar 28 at 13:35
  • @MichaelHarvey - In the French version, he was a cigarette? Mar 28 at 13:48
  • 1
    @JeffZeitlin- No, those are Gauloises! Mar 28 at 14:27
  • @KateBunting - ...which is given as the pl/f of "gaulois". :) Mar 28 at 14:31

A native of Gaul was called a Gaul and the adjective to describe them was Gallic.

Google does turn up examples of 'Gaulian' being used for natives of Gaul; however, the majority of the results are for a fictitious alien species in the Star Wars universe, so while it might be an acceptable alternative it doesn't seem to be favoured.

Interestingly, the ancient region of Galatia was named for the Gallic people and its inhabitants were called Galatians.

  • 1
    Going with this as the answer because the disambiguation of Galatians is useful.
    – EllieK
    Mar 28 at 13:01

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