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Anglo is a prefix indicating a relation to the Angles, England, the English people, or the English language, such as in the term Anglo-Saxon language. It is often used alone, somewhat loosely, to refer to people of British Isles descent in The Americas, New Zealand and Australia. It is also used, both in English-speaking and non-English-speaking countries, to refer to Anglophone people of other European origins.

Anglo is a Late Latin prefix used to denote English- in conjunction with another toponym or demonym. The word is derived from Anglia, the Latin name for England, and still the modern name of its eastern region. Anglia and England both mean land of the Angles, a Germanic people originating in the north German peninsula of Angeln, that is, the region of today's Lower Saxony that joins the Jutland Peninsula and thus forms an angle, so the Romans named it "Angulus".

It is also often used to refer to British in historical and other contexts after the Acts of Union 1707, for example such as in the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824, where in later years agreement was between the British government and the Dutch, not an English government. Typical examples of this use are also shown below, where non-English people from the British Isles are described as being Anglo.

Anglo is not an easily defined term. For traditionalists, there are linguistic problems with using the word as an adjective or noun on its own. For example, the purpose of the -o ending is to enable the formation of a compound term (for example Anglo-Saxon meaning of Angle and Saxon origin), so there is only an apparent parallelism between, for example, Latino and Anglo. However, a semantic change has taken place in many English-speaking regions so that in informal usage the meanings listed below are common.


  • Specialized usage 1
    • Africa 1.1
    • Australia 1.2
    • Canada 1.3
    • Israel 1.4
    • Scotland 1.5
    • United States 1.6
  • See also 2
  • References 3

Specialized usage


The term Anglo-African has been used historically to self-identify by people of mixed British and African ancestry born in the United States and in Africa.[1][2][3][4] The Anglo-African and The Weekly Anglo-African were the names of newspapers published by African American abolitionist Robert Hamilton (1819–1870) in New York during the American Civil War era.[5][6][7] The Anglo-African was also the name of a newspaper published in Lagos (now part of Nigeria) from 1863 to 1865. It was founded and edited by Robert Campbell (1829–1884), a Jamaican born son of a Scottish father and Mulatto mother.[8][9] The term has also been used historically to describe people living in the British Empire in Africa.[10][11] The Anglo-African Who's Who and Biographical Sketch-Book published in London in 1905 includes details of prominent British and Afrikaner people in Africa at that time.[12]


In Australia, Anglo is used as part of the terms Anglo-Australian and Anglo-Celtic, which refer to the majority of Australians, who are of English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish descent.[13]


In Canada, and especially in Canadian French, the terms Anglophone, Anglo-Canadian or simply Anglo, are widely used to designate someone whose mother tongue is English, as opposed to Francophone, which describes someone whose mother tongue is French, and to Allophone, which describes someone whose mother tongue is a language other than English or French. (In Quebec, the word Anglophone or Anglo refers to English-speaking Quebecers in both English and French.) Anglo-Metis is also sometimes used to refer to a historical ethnic group.


Immigrants from English-speaking countries are sometimes referred to as Anglos.[14]


In Scotland the term Anglo-Scot, often shortened to Anglos, is used to refer to people born in Scotland with English ancestry.

United States

In some parts of the United States "Anglo-American" is shortened to "Anglo" and applied to white Americans who are not of Hispanic or Latino origin and sometimes to those who are not of French origin, but this criterion is based on specific linguistic considerations and limited to Louisiana and parts of Texas.[15] It is to be noted however that white Americans of French or French-Canadian descent who are not Cajun and whose first and usual language is English are usually considered part of the Anglo group without further distinction.

In the Southwest United States, "Anglo", short for "Anglo American", is used as a synonym for non-Hispanic Whites; that is, all European Americans (except Latin Americans), most of whom speak the English language, even those who are not necessarily of British or English descent.[16] If language is taken into consideration the term "Anglo-American" also excludes Franco-Americans such as the Cajuns of Louisiana, but would include them when language is excluded as a criterion. The term "Anglo" has been regularly used by mainstream media such as the Los Angeles Times usually in broad reference to non-Hispanic, English-speaking white Americans of European descent.

Some non-Hispanics whites in the United States who speak English but are not of British or English ancestry do not identify with the term Anglo and find the term offensive. For instance, some Cajuns in south Louisiana use the term to refer to area whites who do not have Francophone backgrounds. Irish Americans, the second largest self-identified ethnic group in the United States following German-Americans, also sometimes take umbrage at being called "Anglo".[17][18]

See also


  1. ^ Moses, Wilson Jeremiah (1988). The golden age of Black nationalism, 1850-1925. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 32.  
  2. ^ Rogers, Joel Augustus (1996). World's Great Men of Color, Volume 2. New York: Touchstone. p. 148.  
  3. ^ Lee, Christopher J (2009). "'A generous dream, but difficult to realize': the making of the Anglo-African community of Nyasaland, 1929–1940". In Mohamed Adhikari. Burdened by race : Coloured identities in southern Africa. Cape Town: UCT Press. p. 209.  
  4. ^ Milner-Thornton, Juliette Bridgette (2012). The long shadow of the British empire: The ongoing legacies of race and class in Zambia. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan. p. 11.  
  5. ^ "About The Anglo-African". Library of Congress. Retrieved 28 June 2013. 
  6. ^ Coddington, Ronald S. (2012). African American Faces of the Civil War: An Album. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 274.  
  7. ^ Jackson, Debra (2008). "A Black Journalist in Civil War Virginia: Robert Hamilton and the Anglo-African". Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 116 (1): 42–72. Retrieved 3 July 2013. 
  8. ^ Echeruo, Michael J.C. (2001). "The Anglo-African, the 'Woman Question', and Imperial Discourse". In Dubem Okafor. Meditations on African literature. Westport, Conn. [u.a.]: Greenwood. pp. 119–132.  
  9. ^ James, Winston (2004). "The Wings of Ethiopia: The Caribbean Diaspora and Pan-African Projects from John Brown Russwurm to George Padmore". In Geneviève Fabre and Klaus Benesch. African Diasporas in the New and Old Worlds: Consciousness and Imagination. Amsterdam: Rodopi. pp. 135–148.  
  10. ^ "United Australia: Public opinion in England as expressed in the leading journals of the United Kingdom". Sydney: Charles Potter, Government Printer. 1890. Retrieved 16 July 2013. 'I do see a time when the South African colonies may be brought together into one great Anglo-African people.' 
  11. ^ Africanus (December 1918). The adjustment of the German colonial claims – Dedicated to the American and British delegates of the peace conference. Bern. p. 7. Retrieved 15 July 2013. Sir Harry Johnston, the former Governor General of Central British Africa said after the conquest of German East Africa in the 'Daily News': ... Another well known Anglo-African and Colonial politician E. D. Morel in an article in the 'Labour Leader' entitled 'The Way Out' writes as follows: ...'  Harry Johnston (1858–1927) and E. D. Morel (1873–1924) are referred to as Anglo-Africans in this publication.
  12. ^ Wills, Walter H; Barrett, R. J, eds. (1905). The Anglo-African Who's Who and Biographical Sketch-Book. London: George Routledge & Sons, Ltd. Retrieved 26 June 2013. But we may perhaps claim that, incomplete as it is, it contains many records of Anglo-Africans which are not readily available in any similar work of reference, and it is only necessary to add that we hope to remedy its sins of omission and commission in future editions. 
  13. ^ "1301.0 – Year Book Australia, 1995". Retrieved 2008-06-24. 
  14. ^ "Israel Anglo File news, Israel diplomatic map". 
  15. ^ "Anglo – Definitions from; American Heritage Dictionary". Lexico Publishing Group, LLC. Archived from the original on 15 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-29. 
  16. ^ Barber, Marian Jean (2010). How the Irish, Germans, and Czechs Became Anglo: Race and Identity in the Texas-Mexico Borderlands PhD dissertation. Austin: University of Texas.  
  17. ^ "The Irish-Mexican Thing" by Julie Reynolds. El Andar Magazine, March 1996.[1]
  18. ^ "Don't Call Me Late For Dinner, And Please Don't Call Me Anglo." Letter to the editor, The Arizona Republic, 4 August 1992
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