Wikipedia:Naming conventions (ethnicities and tribes)

This guideline contains conventions on how to name Wikipedia articles about peoples, ethnicities, and tribes. It should be read in conjunction with Wikipedia's general policy on article naming. This guideline explains how to handle cases where this format is not obvious, or for one reason or other is not followed.

General conventions and disambiguation[edit]

There are several acceptable conventions for naming articles about ethnic groups. When deciding how to name such an article, consider the article title criteria. In general, the common English-language term for an ethnic group should be used. In many cases, the most concise title will be a plural demonym, e.g. Bretons or Swedes. Note that in some cases, the common plural form is a mass noun that is the same as the singular form, as with Batak, Cherokee, or Wodaabe.

In cases where no plural demonym exists, or where that demonym is ambiguous and not the primary topic, other forms can be used. The most common method of disambiguation is to add "people" to the end of the common singular form to create natural disambiguation, e.g. Chinese people (as Chinese is ambiguous). In articles describing multiple ethnic groups, "peoples" is pluralized, for example, Austronesian peoples. In some cases, parenthetical disambiguation will be necessary, especially when there are more than one ethnic group that share a name. Add a distinguishing term in parentheses after the common name. For example, Gavião (Gê) and Gavião (Rondônia) distinguish the two peoples from each other and other topics named Gavião.

Examples of use on the English Wikipedia are provided below:

Pattern Examples
Plural demonym Koreans · Germans · Swedes · Arab Canadians
Mass noun demonyms British Chinese · Iyer · Navajo
Adjectival with "people" French people · Wauja people
Adjectival with "peoples" Circumpolar peoples · Turkic peoples
Parenthetical disambiguation Macedonians (ethnic group)

Terms to watch[edit]


The term "tribe" should generally be avoided in Wikipedia titles, as there is no consistent definition of the term, and it may be inaccurate or offensive for some groups and contexts. In general, the disambiguation advice above should be followed, e.g. Natchez people rather than Natchez tribe. There are a few exceptions:

Singular titles[edit]

Use of the singular titles for ethnic groups is generally deprecated in favor of plural titles. Notably, a October–November 2015 request for comment determined that articles about American ethnic groups, which had largely used singular titles, such as African American and Chinese American, should use titles rendered in the plural, e.g. African Americans and Chinese Americans. Note that mass nouns may be the same as the singular form; these are acceptable if they are the common name.


Forms that require a definite article should not be used, e.g. French people is used instead of The French. Gendered terminology should also be avoided, e.g. English people is used instead of Englishmen.


How the group self-identifies should be considered. If their autonym is commonly used in English, it would be the best article title. Any terms regarded as derogatory by members of the ethnic group in question should be avoided.


Disputes over how to refer to a group are addressed by policies such as Verifiability, Neutral point of view, Article titles, and English. Undiscussed, unilateral moves of widely edited articles are discouraged.