Gypsy

1 of 2

noun

Gyp·​sy ˈjip-sē How to pronounce Gypsy (audio)
plural Gypsies
1
usually offensive; see usage paragraph below
a
: a member of a traditionally itinerant people who originated in northern India and now live chiefly in Europe and in smaller numbers throughout the world : romani sense 1, rom entry 1
b
: the Indo-Aryan language of the Roma people : romani sense 2
2
gypsy often offensive; see usage paragraph below : a person who wanders or roams from place to place : wanderer
Usage of Gypsy

Though still frequently encountered in English, use of the term Gypsy to refer to Roma people or their language is increasingly regarded as offensive because of negative stereotypes associated with that term. Although Gypsy is sometimes used as a neutral or positive self-descriptor, it is recommended that those for whom it is not a self-descriptor use Roma or Romani/Romany instead. Other uses of gypsy are also increasingly understood as offensive, including the general "wanderer" meaning of the noun and the related meaning of the verb gypsy, as well as compound terms, such as gypsy moth and gypsy cab.

gypsy

2 of 2

verb

gyp·​sy ˈjip-sē How to pronounce gypsy (audio)
gypsied; gypsying; gypsies

intransitive verb

often offensive
: to travel or roam from place to place see usage paragraph at gypsy

Examples of Gypsy in a Sentence

Noun a guitar-toting gypsy, the folk singer tours the country in an endless round of one-night gigs

Word History

Etymology

Noun

by shortening & alteration from Egyptian

First Known Use

Noun

1574, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1820, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Gypsy was in 1574

Dictionary Entries Near Gypsy

Cite this Entry

“Gypsy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Gypsy. Accessed 18 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

Gypsy

noun
Gyp·​sy ˈjip-sē How to pronounce Gypsy (audio)
plural Gypsies
1
usually offensive : one of a people coming originally from India to Europe in the 14th or 15th century and living and maintaining a wandering way of life : romani sense 1
2
Etymology

Noun

a shortened and altered form of Egyptian; so called because Romani were once believed to have come from Egypt

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