Bermudan - Bermudian

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The adjective, sometimes used substantively, for 'from, or of, Bermuda', has been Bermudian since the late eighteenth century. A hundred years later, the form Bermudan (with no '-i-') began to be used, but failed to catch on. So, although 'Bermudan' may appear more logical, Bermudian is the preferred form in AWE, as in OED. According to wiktionary (19/12/2012), "The term Bermudian is preferred by the inhabitants of Bermuda."

  • Bermudian is perhaps most commonly used to describe the form of sail most commonly seen in modern sailing boats: a tall slender approximately triangular mainsail, usually accompanied by triangular foresails. In this form, with one or more masts, the configuration is known as the Bermudian rig. This can be refined, by the nautically knowledgeable into such descriptions as the Bermudian sloop (with one headsail), a Bermudian cutter (with two), and various other permutations of more than one mast, such as Bermudian schooners, Bermudian ketches and Bermudian yawls.

In general, the prevailing adjective in current use seems to be the noun Bermuda used epithetically, as in the descriptions of such modern phenomena as Bermuda shorts (sometimes colloquially shortened to 'Bermudas') - the knee-length trousers; Bermuda shirts, loose and usually in brightly coloured patterns; the Bermuda Triangle, the alleged focus of paranormal disappearance; and the most usual modern name for the sailing rig described above, as Bermuda rig.


Geographically, Bermuda is better known as the Bermudas , as the territory, although only some 20 square miles in toto, is spread between about 134 or more separate islands. Politically, the territory - a dependent territory of the UK - is known as Bermuda. It used to be known in Britain as Somers Isles, after it was claimed for the British crown by Sir George Somers (1554-1610), whose ship was wrecked there in 1609. The first European discoverer was Juan de Bermúdez, a Spanish sailor, who spotted the islands some time between 1503 and 1511: he apparently did not land, on account of the dangerous reefs. It is his name - not an uncommon one in Spain and Latin America - that gave us the word Bermuda