The British Isles, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom – On the surface, it might mean the same; in reality, each word refers to a different entity geographically and politically. A simple explanation related to Britain will lend more clarity to the above terms.
British Isles – The group of islands that include Great Britain, Ireland, Isle of Man, Guernsey, Jersey, and a group of smaller islands present in the Atlantic Ocean and off the coast of Continental Europe. The catalog of the British Isles includes more than 6,000 islands.
Great Britain – The largest island of the British Isles archipelago constituting the nations England, Scotland, and Wales.
Ireland – The second largest island of the British Isles Archipelago lies to Great Britain’s west.
United Kingdom – Officially referred to as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, is a constitutional entity that encloses the Island of Great Britain, small islands near Great Britain, and the northern-eastern part of Ireland.
In simple terms, the UK constitutes four nations, England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.
UK’s legal jurisdictions are split into three separate ones; England & Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.
Ireland – Politically, Ireland refers to the Republic of Ireland, which occupies a major part of geographical Ireland. The sovereign republic is referred to as “The Republic of Ireland.”