noun (1)
\ ˈrōm How to pronounce Rom (audio) \
plural Rom or Roma\ ˈrō-​mə How to pronounce Rom (audio) \ also Roms

Definition of Rom

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: a member of a traditionally itinerant people who originated in northern India and now live chiefly in south and southwest Asia, Europe, and North America : romani, gypsy Ms. Fonseca has journeyed in Albania, Bulgaria … and Poland to look at the lives and history of the Gypsies—or Roma, as some prefer to be known …— Annette Kobak This year, world-music insiders have put Gypsy music, specifically the music of the Rom peoples of Central and Eastern Europe, on their short list of musics to watch.— Joseph Hooper

Definition of Rom (Entry 2 of 3)

1 Romania
2 Romans


noun (2)
\ ˈräm How to pronounce ROM (audio) \

Definition of ROM (Entry 3 of 3)

: a usually small computer memory that contains special-purpose information (such as a program) which cannot be altered — compare ram

First Known Use of Rom

Noun (1)

1841, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

1966, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for Rom

Noun (1)

borrowed from Romani řom "man, married man, male Rom," probably going back to or cognate with medieval Sanskrit ḍombaḥ "man of low caste living by performing music"

Note: The ř in řom represents a sound with diverse outcomes in modern Romani dialects; in the Kalderaš dialect of Romania it is a uvular trill, contrasting with a dental trill written as r. Initially, as in this word, ř usually continues a retroflex dental in the Indo-Aryan ancestor of Romani. Likely cognates of řom are dom, a self-designation of the Dom, a marginalized, traditionally itinerant ethnic group of southwest Asia, and lom, the self-designation of the Poša or Lom, a similar group in Armenia. The Sanskrit word ḍombaḥ is apparently first attested in the Kathāsaritsāgara, an 11th-century collection of tales and legends reprising much older material.

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Cite this Entry

“Rom.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for Rom



English Language Learners Definition of ROM

: the part of a computer in which information that cannot be changed is stored


\ ˈräm How to pronounce ROM (audio) \

Kids Definition of ROM

: a usually small computer memory that contains special-purpose information (as a program) which cannot be changed


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