A word used to indicate Romani (also spelled Romany) or Roma people, a traditionally itinerant ethnic group that lives in Europe and has branches in the Americas, Asia and North Africa. The word Gypsy (sometimes capitalized as a proper noun when referring to the ethnic group and sometimes spelled Gipsy) has negative connotations and many Romani people see it as a racial slur. In general, it’s best to use Romani or Roma people when referring to the ethnic group unless people self-identify as Gypsies.
The term gyp, which means to cheat or swindle, likely comes from Gypsy and is seen as a negative stereotype of Roma as swindlers and thieves.
« Back to Glossary Index