Brexit: the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union
A blend of British, or Britain, and exit, this term dates back to 2012. The form Brixit appeared in Bagehot’s notebook on British politics, in The Economist of 21st June:
A Brixit looms
MY PRINT column this week considers the political implications in Britain of the deepening euro crisis:
The chances of Britain leaving the EU in the next few years are higher than they have ever been. A Brixit looms for several reasons.
But the form Brexit had been used in a tweet sent on 15th May by British Influence, a think tank that advocates a more active role for Britain in Europe and in the world:
Stumbling towards the Brexit – Britain, a referendum and an ever-closer reckoning
Brexit, or Brixit, was probably coined on the pattern of the earlier Grexit, a blend of Greek, or Greece, and exit, meaning the potential withdrawal of Greece from the eurozone (the economic region formed by those countries in the European Union that use the euro as their national currency).
Grexit was coined by Ebrahim Rahbari and Willem H. Buiter, economists at Citigroup Inc., an American multinational investment banking and financial services corporation, in Rising Risks of Greek Euro Area Exit (6th February 2012):
We raise our estimate of the likelihood of Greek exit from the eurozone (or ‘Grexit’) to 50% over the next 18 months from earlier estimates of ours which put it at 25-30%.