Word Origin & History
Anglo-Fr. Bretun, from L. Brittonem (nom. Britto, misspelled Brito in MSS) "a member of the tribe of the Britons," from *Britt-os, the Celtic name of the Celtic inhabitants of Britain and southern Scotland before the 5c. Anglo-Saxon invasion drove them into Wales, Cornwall, and a few other corners. In
4c. B.C.E. Gk. they are recorded as Prittanoi, which is said to mean "tattooed people." Only in historical use after O.E. period; revived when James I was proclaimed King of Great Britain in 1604, and made official at the union of England and Scotland in 1707.