Why Is Britain Sometimes Called "Blighty?"

11 June 2019, 11:45

Military reenactors carrying the British flag
Military reenactors carrying the British flag. Picture: PA

Why do some people use the word "Blighty" when talking about Great Britain? Where did it come from?

Mystery Hour Question

Why do people sometimes call Great Britain "Blighty?"
Name: Ron, Ealing

Answer

"Blighty" was first used in India in the 1800's, and meant an English or British visitor.

It's thought to have derived from the Urdu word "vilāyatī" which meant foreign.

The term then gained popularity during trench warfare in World War One, where "Blighty" was used affectionately to refer to Britain.

Name: Andrew, Durham
Qualification: Studied 20th Century History at University


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