Gypsy

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See also: gypsy

English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English Gipcyan, Gypcyan (Gyptian), from Old French gyptien. Short for egyptian, from Latin aegyptius, because when they first appeared in England in the sixteenth century they were wrongly believed to have come from Egypt. The Albanian term Evgit, Greek γύφτος (gýftos) and Spanish gitano have the same origin.

The other major categories of words for the Roma are cognates of Rom (words related to the Romani people's autonyms) and cognates of tzigane (words derived from Greek); see those entries for more information.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

Gypsy (plural Gypsies)

  1. (sometimes offensive) A member of the Romani people, or one of it sub-groups (Roma, Sinti, Romanichal, etc).
  2. A member of other nomadic peoples, not only of the Romani people; a traveller. Alternative spelling of gypsy

Usage notes[edit]

An exonym (external name) based on the mistaken belief that the Romani people came from Egypt, the term Gypsy is loaded with negative connotations.[1][2] Some dictionaries therefore recommend avoiding use of the term gypsy either entirely, or as a negative modifier.[3][4][5][6][7][8] Careful speakers and most international organizations typically use Romani, Roma, or Rom as designations for the people, although narrowly speaking, the last two designate a subgroup. Rrom and Rroma (spellings which represent a trilled ‘r’) also find occasional use.

However, Gypsy is more common in informal speech than Romani, and is the term used by some British laws and court decisions, such as the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960 and the 1989 decision in the case of the Commission for Racial Equality v Dutton. This is because its offensiveness is not always understood by non-Romani, whose use of it is often not intended to cause offense. Further, some Romani organizations use "Gypsy" as a self-designation.

Synonyms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Proper noun[edit]

Gypsy

  1. (rare, sometimes offensive) The language Romani.

Usage notes[edit]

See the notes about the noun, above.

Translations[edit]

Adjective[edit]

Gypsy (not comparable)

  1. (sometimes offensive) Of or belonging to the Romani people or one of it sub-groups (Roma, Sinti, Romanichel, etc).

Usage notes[edit]

See the notes about the noun, above.

Translations[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 1994, Jean-Pierre Liégeois, Roma, Gypsies, Travellers
  2. ^ 1999, Arthur Kean Spears, Race and ideology: language, symbolism, and popular culture
  3. ^
    2007, Tom Dalzell editor, The new Partridge dictionary of slang and unconventional English, edition reprint, London [u.a.]: Routledge, ISBN 0415259371, page 943:
  4. ^
    1998, Merriam-Webster's pocket guide to English usage, Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, ISBN 0877795142, page 178:
  5. ^
    2009, Bryan A. Garner, Garner's modern American usage, edition 3rd edition, New York: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0195382757, page 405:
  6. ^
    1973, [by] H.E. Wedeck with the assistance of Wade Baskin, Dictionary of gypsy life and lore, New York: Philosophical Library, ISBN 0806529857:
  7. ^
    (Can we date this quote?) A dictionary of modern legal usage, edition 3rd edition, New York: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0195384202, page 400:
  8. ^
    2002, Guido Bolaffi editor, Dictionary of race, ethnicity and culture, edition 1. publ., [Nachdr.]., London: Sage, ISBN 0761969004, page 291: