Etymology
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British (adj.)
Old English Bryttisc "of or relating to (ancient) Britons," from Bryttas "natives of ancient Britain" (see Briton). Meaning "of or pertaining to Great Britain" is from c. 1600; the noun meaning "inhabitants of Great Britain" is from 1640s. British Empire is from c. 1600. First modern record of British Isles is from 1620s. British English as the form of the English language spoken in Britain is by 1862 (George P. Marsh). Related: Britishness.
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people (v.)

mid-15c., peplen, "to provide (a land) with inhabitants" (transitive), also "inhabit, populate, fill or occupy as inhabitants" (intransitive, implied in peopled), from people (n.), or else from Old French popler, peupler, from Old French peuple. Related: Peopling.

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people (n.)

c. 1300, peple, "humans, persons in general, men and women," from Anglo-French peple, people, Old French pople, peupel "people, population, crowd; mankind, humanity," from Latin populus "a people, nation; body of citizens; a multitude, crowd, throng," a word of unknown origin. Based on Italic cognates and derivatives such as populari "to lay waste, ravage, plunder, pillage," Populonia, a surname of Juno, literally "she who protects against devastation," the Proto-Italic root is said to mean "army" [de Vaan]. An Etruscan origin also has been proposed. The Latin word also is the source of Spanish pueblo, Italian popolo. In English, it displaced native folk.

Sense of "Some unspecified persons" is from c. 1300. Meaning "body of persons comprising a community" is by mid-14c. (late 13c. in Anglo-French); the meaning "common people, masses" (as distinguished from the nobility) is from late 13c. The meaning "members of one's family, tribe, or clan" is from late 14c.

The word was adopted after c. 1920 by Communist totalitarian states, according to their opponents to give a spurious sense of populism to their governments. It is based on the political sense of the word, "the whole body of enfranchised citizens (considered as the sovereign source of government power," attested from 1640s. This also is the sense in the legal phrase The People vs., in U.S. cases of prosecution under certain laws (1801).

The people are the only censors of their governors: and even their errors will tend to keep these to the true principles of their institution. To punish these errors too severely would be to suppress the only safeguard of the public liberty. The way to prevent these irregular interpositions of the people is to give them full information of their affairs thro’ the channel of the public papers, and to contrive that those papers should penetrate the whole mass of the people. [Jefferson to Edward Carrington, Jan. 16, 1787]

People of the Book "those whose religion entails adherence to a book of divine revelation" (1834) translates Arabic Ahl al-Kitab

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middle class (n.)

1766, in a British sense, "class of people socially intermediate between the aristocratic and the laboring classes, the community of untitled but well-bred or wealthy people," from middle (adj.) + class (n.). As an adjective, "pertaining to the middle class," by 1857, with reference to education. Nares reports menalty as an early word for "the middle class" (1540s).

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wrinkly (adj.)
early 15c. (in reference to the penis), from wrinkle (n.) + -y (2). As teen slang noun for "old person," from 1972 ("old" being relative; a British reference from 1982 applies it to people in their 40s).
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black hole (n.)
in astrophysics, 1968, probably with awareness of the notorious Black Hole of Calcutta, incident of June 19, 1756, in which 146 British POWs taken by the Nawab of Bengal after the capture of Ft. William, Calcutta, were held overnight in a punishment cell of the barracks (meant to hold 4 people) and all but 23 perished.
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Pict (n.)

one of an ancient people formerly inhabiting the Highlands of Scotland and other parts of the British Isles beyond the reach of the Romans, late 14c. (replacing Old English plural Peohtas), from Late Latin Picti (late 3c., probably a nickname given them by Roman soldiers), usually taken as derived from picti "painted," but probably ultimately from the Celtic name of the tribe, perhaps Pehta, Peihta, literally "the fighters" (compare Gaulish Pictavi, a different people, who gave the name to the French city of Poitiers). They painted and tattooed themselves, which may have suggested a Roman folk-etymology alteration of the name.

In Scottish folk-lore, the Pechts are often represented as a dark pygmy race, or an underground people; and sometimes identified with elves, brownies, or fairies. [OED]

Related: Pictish; Pictland.

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lede (n.2)
"a people, nation, race; the subjects of a lord or sovereign; persons collectively" (as in all lede "all the world"); obsolete, from Old English leod "nation, people," leode (Northumbrian lioda "men, people," cognate with German Leute "nation, people;" Old High German liut "person, people," from PIE root *leudh- (2) "people" (source also of Old Church Slavonic ljudu, Lithuanian liaudis "nation, people").
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Cymric (adj.)

"of or pertaining to the Welsh" and their kindred, the Cornish and Bretons, by 1833, from Welsh Cymru "Wales," Cymry "the Welsh," plural of Cymro, probably from ancient combrox "compatriot," from British Celtic *kom-brogos, from collective prefix *kom- (see com-) + *brogos "district," from PIE root *merg- "boundary, border." Compare Allobroges, name of a warlike people in Gallia Narbonensis, literally "those from another land." As from 1833 as a noun, "the language of the Cymry."

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