The phrase "Sinn Féin" is Irish for "Ourselves" or "We Ourselves", although it is frequently mistranslated as "ourselves alone" (from "Sinn Féin Amháin", an early-20th-century slogan. See also Sinn Féin (slogan)). The meaning of the name itself is an assertion of Irish national sovereignty and self-determination; i.e., the Irish people governing themselves, rather than being part of a political union with Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) under the Westminster Parliament.
Around the time of 1969–1970, owing to the split in the republican movement, there were two groups calling themselves Sinn Féin; one under Tomás Mac Giolla, the other under Ruairí Ó Brádaigh. The latter became known as Sinn Féin (Kevin Street) or Provisional Sinn Féin, and the former became known as Sinn Féin (Gardiner Place) or Official Sinn Féin. As the "Officials" dropped all mention of Sinn Féin from their name in 1982, instead calling itself the Workers' Party of Ireland, the Provisionals were now generally known as Sinn Féin. Supporters of Republican Sinn Féin, which came from a 1986 split, still use the term "Provisional Sinn Féin" to refer to the party led by Mary Lou McDonald.
Sinn Féin members have also been referred to as Shinners, a term intended as a pejorative.