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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. In 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.  1200. 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.

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