noun (1)
\ ˈrōm How to pronounce Rom (audio) \
plural Roma\ ˈrō-​mə How to pronounce Rom (audio) \ or Rom 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 Europe and in smaller numbers throughout the world : romani Although they face discrimination … these women are leading the integration of the Roma into European society.— Lisa Abend

Note: The Roma are also referred to as Gypsies, a term that is still frequently encountered in English but is increasingly regarded as offensive.

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 10 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for Rom


\ 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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