More than half of the countries of the world are officially republics, yet most often you can omit the "republic" part when referring to the country. Examples :

  • French Republic -> France
  • People's republic of China -> China
  • Federal Republic of Germany -> Germany
  • Slovak Republic -> Slovakia

So why is there 2 countries out there where you cannot remove the "republic" from their title, namely the Czech Republic and the Dominican Republic ?

I know about the word "Czechia", but it sounds really weird. And there's no such word as "Dominicania".

  • 1
    The term "Republic" is far from the only term that this affects; there are also countries whose official names aren't even similar to their common names (Greece/Hellenic Republic). This is really an English question more than a political question.
    – cpast
    Apr 5, 2015 at 2:18
  • 1
    Well, in the other 2 languages I speak, French and German, it's mandatory to say "République tchèque" and "Tschechiche Republik" respecively, so it's definitely not an English-only quesion. Now the question would be, is it mandatory to say "republic" in Czech, and it sounds like the answer is no.
    – Bregalad
    Apr 5, 2015 at 13:46
  • 2
    Actually the words "Tchéquie" (fr) and "Tscheschein" (de) exists as well, but nobody seems to use them for some random reason, just like nobody says Czechia in english. It's really a mystery.
    – Bregalad
    Apr 5, 2015 at 13:53
  • 1
    Nothing is obligatory, you won't get arrested for it, it's really a linguistic question. There is a lot of work on why some things feel acceptable to speakers of a language whereas others do not and all this changes with time. For example, “Tchéquie” is not regarded as correct in formal French but it's increasingly common and in 50 years from now I would not be surprised if it has become the regular name of the country. German usage is even more complex. “Tschechei” is actually quite common but frowned upon for political reasons in some circles (cf. Wikipedia).
    – Relaxed
    Jun 4, 2015 at 10:26
  • “République Dominicaine” on the other hand suffers from the proximity with “Dominique” (a completely different country) and that can keep the name stable for the foreseeable future.
    – Relaxed
    Jun 4, 2015 at 10:26

3 Answers 3


There is actually a simple answer, grounded in language, but not unique to English.

Czech and Dominican--in the given examples--are adjectives, therefore if you were to describe someone or something from those countries, you would say that they were Czech or Dominican (e.g. a Czech beer, where the adjective Czech modifies the noun beer). Without the noun "Republic" you cannot use the word as a subject or object as a part of speech.

France, by way of counter example, is actually a noun, which is why if you wish to describe it as a Republic (which it is) you must switch to the adjective form "French" (i.e. French Republic where the adjective "French" modifies the noun republic).

This is a different question that "What is the official name of a country" and that can vary widely. Almost all countries official names contain the form of government in their name. Some use a noun form of the country, as in "The People's Republic of China," or "The Islamic Republic of Iran." Others have an adjectival form in their official name, as in "Argentine Republic" or "French Republic." Official names should always be used in formal or diplomatic settings, but may or may not be used otherwise.


The answer is that it the shortest and least recognizable word to describe a country in existence, as it is a simple percussive sound of only one syllable.

Chad is the only other country that is as inarticulate as Czech, you may say that Guam, Greece, France, Wales, Spain, are also one syllable country names, but they are actually diphthongs.

It isn't obligatory in every country to say Czech Republic, and in every language, it is a question of accepted norms.

The Czechs don't actually say Czech Republic, they commonly say "I come from Czech" when they speak English. "in Czech we like beer". "in Czech we have strong civil liberties".

It is an accident due to the hasty division of Czechoslovakia. At the time of decision, no one could think of an alternative better suited to the English language.

Czech is an annoying sound to pronounce and an un-descriptive name for a beautiful country, It is the same as having a country called Psip, pshek, Kst.

It is inconvenient to use on it's own and doesn't sound like English, and interrupts a phrase with a percussive sound which cannot represent a country by nature of it's sonority.

It is partly a question of politics, but mostly of language and semantics.

  • 2
    "wordization" of the sound Czhech is difficult because Czechland, Czechia, Czechium dont work very well in english or internationally. There are few other words in english, and none in french that start with the syllable check, it doesn't work. perhaps checking and chicken. checked. chacun, chacune. Apr 5, 2015 at 9:00
  • So for the Czech republic it's just a language problem. What about the Dominican republic ?
    – Bregalad
    Apr 5, 2015 at 13:44
  • I wasnt aware the you had to say dominican republic. i hear Dominica from the natives... "i'm from Dominica" it doesnt present any semantic challenges. Apr 10, 2015 at 1:38
  • apparently even wiki lists Dominican Republic as Dominica first and foremost, so it's a common name for it. Dominica - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia... it sais Dominica is official name is Dominican Republic, because Columbus found it on a sunday, dominica is latin for sunday or something. ... i dont think alot of londoners follow this advice though: The demonym or adjective is "Dominican" in English. It is pronounced with the syllable stress on the second "i," to distinguish it from the Dominican Republic, where the stress is on the first "i".[8] ... Ya man, Domineeecan bananas man :) Apr 10, 2015 at 1:52
  • 2
    @uformace : Dominica is a separate caraibean island that has nothing to do with the Dominican Republic. Sorry but it sounds like you don't know much about what you're saying.
    – Bregalad
    Apr 11, 2015 at 21:00

Why is it obligatory to say “republic” in “Czech Republic” […]?

Answer: It is not obligatory, in case of Czech Republic.

In fact, Czechia [ˈtʃɛki.ə] is considered a preferred form by many international and Czech official institutions and linguists.

Official Recognition

Czechia is listed in the United Nations´ databases “UNTERM” and “UNGEGN” as the official short name of the Czech Republic.
The Terminological Committee of the Czech Office for Surveying, Mapping and Cadaster officially codified Czechia in 1993 in its publication “Names of States and their Territorial Parts” as the English translation of Česko (the short name of the country in Czech).

Possible Confusion with Chechnya

There is another popular argument claiming that "Czechia is an unsuitable short name for the Czech Republic because it can be easily confused with Chechnya."
(Chechnya used to be an independent country, occupied by Russia since 1921).

This became most evident in April 2013, after the Chechen terrorists allegedly committed Boston bombings. Czech Republic was even forced to remind the Internet that Chechnya is in different country.

Linguists counter-argue on this:

Poor knowledge of country names or geography by some people should not be a reason for refusing a particular country name.
There are numerous countries with more similar names than Czechia/Chechnya, such as Austria/Australia, Iran/Iraq, India/Indonesia, Mali/Malawi, Niger/Nigeria, Gambia/Zambia, Slovakia/Slovenia and even Georgia/Georgia (a U.S. state). None of these countries has decided to give up its short name and use its political name exclusively because of a possible confusion with another country (region). Czechia can be confused with Chechnya in the same way the Czech Republic can be confused with the Chechen Republic. The chance of actual confusion of Czechia and Chechnya during various diplomatic, international scientific or sports events is almost zero since Chechnya is not an independent country and does not act as a sovereign entity at the international scale.



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