The English words "Wales" and "Welsh" derive from the same
Germanic root (singular
Walh, plural Walha), which was itself derived from the name of the Celtic tribe known to the Romans as
Volcae and which came to refer indiscriminately to all Celts. The
Anglo-Saxons came to use the term Wælisc when referring to the
Britons in particular, and Wēalas when referring to their lands.
 The modern names for some
Continental European lands (e.g.
Valais) and peoples (e.g. the
Vlachs via a borrowing into
Old Church Slavonic) have a similar etymology.
Britain, the words were not restricted to modern Wales or to the Welsh but were used to refer to anything that the Anglo-Saxons associated with the Britons, including other non-Germanic territories in Britain (e.g.
Cornwall) and places in Anglo-Saxon territory associated with Celtic Britons (e.g.
County Durham and
 as well as items associated with non-Germanic Europeans, such as the
The modern Welsh name for themselves is Cymry, and Cymru is the Welsh name for Wales. These words (both of which are pronounced
[ˈkəm.rɨ]) are descended from the
Brythonic word combrogi, meaning "fellow-countrymen".
 The use of the word Cymry as a self-designation derives from the location in the
post-Roman Era (after the arrival of the Anglo-Saxons) of the Welsh (Brythonic-speaking) people in modern Wales as well as in northern England and southern Scotland (
Yr Hen Ogledd) (English: The Old North). It emphasised that the Welsh in modern Wales and in the Hen Ogledd were one people, different from other peoples.
 In particular, the term was not applied to the
Cornish or the
Breton peoples, who are of similar heritage, culture, and language to the Welsh. The word came into use as a self-description probably before the 7th century.
 It is attested in a praise poem to
Cadwallon ap Cadfan (Moliant Cadwallon, by Afan Ferddig) c. 633.
Welsh literature, the word Cymry was used throughout the
Middle Ages to describe the Welsh, though the older, more generic term Brythoniaid continued to be used to describe any of the
Britonnic peoples (including the Welsh) and was the more common literary term until c. 1100. Thereafter Cymry prevailed as a reference to the Welsh. Until c. 1560 the word was spelt Kymry or Cymry, regardless of whether it referred to the people or their homeland.
Latinised forms of these names, Cambrian, Cambric and
Cambria, survive as lesser-used alternative names for Wales, Welsh and the
Welsh people. Examples include the
Cambrian Mountains (which cover much of Wales and gave their name to the
geological period), the newspaper
Cambrian News, and the organisations
Cambrian Archaeological Association and the
Royal Cambrian Academy of Art. Outside Wales, a related form survives as the name
North West England, which was once a part of Yr Hen Ogledd. The
Cumbric language, which is thought to have been closely related to Welsh, was spoken in this area until
becoming extinct around the 12th century. This form also appears at times in literary references, as in the
Historia Regum Britanniae" of
Geoffrey of Monmouth, where the character of
Camber is described as the eponymous King of Cymru.