A demonym (pron.: //), also referred to as a gentilic, is a name for a resident of a locality and is usually, though not always, derived from the name of a locality. For example, the demonym for a resident of Britain is Briton; the demonym for a resident of Canada is Canadian; while the most common English language demonym for the people of the Netherlands is Dutch (though the words Netherlander and "Hollander" are also used).
The word demonym comes from the Greek word for "populace" (δῆμος demos) with the suffix for "name" (-onym).
National Geographic Magazine attributes this term to Merriam-Webster editor Paul Dickson. It was subsequently popularized in this sense in 1997 by Dickson in his book Labels for Locals. Dickson himself attributed the term to George H. Scheetz in What Do You Call a Person From...? A Dictionary of Resident Names (the first edition of Labels for Locals). The term first appeared in Names' Names: A Descriptive and Prescriptive Onymicon by George H. Scheetz. The term is foreshadowed in demonymic, which the Oxford English Dictionary defines as the name of an Athenian citizen according to the deme to which he belonged, with first usage traced to 1893.
The term demonym is not widely employed or known outside geographical circles and does not yet appear in mainstream dictionaries. It is used by some geographers, both online and within their studies and teaching.
Some places, particularly smaller cities and towns, may not have an established word for their residents; toponymists have a particular challenge in researching these. In some countries, like Belgium and Luxembourg, there is strong tradition of "demonym-like nicknames", called blason populaire in French. In some cases, this blason populaire is frequently used as the name of the inhabitants.