In modern English, term Bosnians is the most commonly used exonym for the general population of Bosnia. In older English literature, inhabitants of Bosnia were sometimes also referred to as Bosniacs or Bosniaks. All of those terms (Bosnians, Bosniacs, Bosniaks) were used interchangeably, as common demonyms for the entire population of Bosnia, including all ethnic and religious groups. When pointing to different religious affiliations within the general population of Bosnia, English authors were using common terms like Christian Bosniacs, or Mohammedan Bosniacs, and also Christian Bosniaks, or Mohammedan Bosniaks. Up to the 20th century, in English language, none of those terms (Bosnians, Bosniacs, Bosniaks) were used to designate a distinctive ethnicity.
Since the end of the 20th century, when the majority of ethnic Muslims in former Yugoslavia decided to adopt term Bosniaks as their ethnic designation, consequent use of that particular term in English language has gradually adapted to the new situation. Today, term Bosniaks (including the spelling variant Bosniacs) is primarily used in English language as a designation for ethnic Bosniaks, while the term Bosnians has kept its general meaning, designating all inhabitants of Bosnia.