Definition of Romany in English:


(also Romani)


  • 1[mass noun] The language of the Gypsies, which is an Indo-European language related to Hindi. It is spoken by a dispersed group of about 1 million people, and has many dialects.

    • ‘And they would come there and they'd come from deep in Asia over centuries and centuries, and they spoke their own language, Romany, which had a heavy Indian influence.’
    • ‘The language of the Roma population is Romany, although many Roma combine that language with Romanian.’
    • ‘One particular myth about Romany that doubtless appealed to Sackville-West and Trefusis was that it did not contain any words for duty or possession, concepts held to be totally alien to gypsy life.’
    • ‘Carl continued muttering in both English and Romany as they headed out the door.’
    • ‘It's much more likely to derive from the Romany.’
    • ‘Gypsies speak Romany, an Indic language of the Indo-European language family.’
    • ‘I could hear and understand their prayers in Romany.’
    • ‘A moment later a deep-throated roar quite unlike the voice I had just heard erupted into a tirade interspersed with vile-sounding words in Romany.’
    traveller, rambler, hiker, wayfarer, migrant, globetrotter, roamer, rover
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  • 2A Gypsy.

    • ‘To the rest of you non-Gypsies out there, I hope this book will interest you in the Rom enough to seek out some more factual books on them - particularly books written by Romanies, rather than just about them.’
    • ‘If we take Finland as an example, we find that the Saami, Romanies, and Swedes have to learn Finnish, but Finns do not have to learn any of these languages.’
    • ‘Less than 10 per cent of the world's eight million Romanies remain nomadic.’
    • ‘It's a shame if these people give Romanies and the genuine traveller a bad name.’
    • ‘A family of gipsies living on land they own in Wickford have won their battle to stay there permanently after judges ruled they were real Romanies whose nomadic lifestyle has been restricted.’
    • ‘True gypsies, or Romanies, were perceived and defined as a separate nomadic people possessing their own language, customs, and beliefs.’
    • ‘The Romanies have a history of well over a thousand years, it's an old culture and to me they're very special people.’
    • ‘The book also deals with the dilemmas of the politics of identity, especially with respect to the just treatment of Romanies in Central Europe.’
    • ‘We do not consider these people to be gypsies or traditional Romanies but little more than itinerant workers.’
    • ‘In a free society, if Jews, Romanies or Muslims want to go to their rabbi, gypsy king or imam to settle civil matters instead of suing each other in a court of law, it should be, as it has always been, a fundamental right.’
    • ‘At a previous gathering, I met some Romanies in Denmark.’
    • ‘The Romanies, an extended family consisting of grandparents, their daughter, and her family, have lived in north Wiltshire for more than 50 years.’


  • Relating to Gypsies or their language.

    • ‘The title is taken from the Romany language of the Gypsies meaning ‘wherever.’’
    • ‘At the inquiry the appellant stated that she was a Romany Gypsy who had travelled all her life.’
    • ‘He'd done so grudgingly and he'd breathed a sigh of relief when Stephan had left home at the age of twenty to marry a Romany girl.’
    • ‘Gypsies came from northern India and adopted a wandering life-style, keeping their Romany language and traditions.’
    • ‘Two Gypsies were shrieking Romany imprecations at each other, struggling for possession of a huge crystal ball.’
    • ‘The ensuing investigation brings Sasha face to face with victims across the city - from Georgian marketeers to Romany gypsies.’
    • ‘Gypsies were marked as the other in terms of race, class, and religion; the name itself derives from Egyptian and points toward the much-discussed myth that the Romany race descended from an ancient Eastern tribe.’
    • ‘I had a general feeling that she hated me, that she was hostile towards me only because of my Romany origins.’
    • ‘Singers ranging from Romany gypsies to an Algerian rapper join him.’
    • ‘He has recently completed a journey around Europe in a traditional Romany wagon.’
    • ‘Augustus John, who had a certain talent but nothing to say, so admired Romany culture that he dressed like one.’
    • ‘I'm not sure the extent to which it's happening to the Romany people but I think it's probably an issue the way it has been an issue for First Nations people in Canada and Aborigines in Australia.’
    • ‘We parade down the road, where the Chmelars' Romany neighbours surprise us by playing not traditional gipsy music, but superb modern jazz.’
    • ‘But in Wigton, when men talked about a horse, they talked about a ‘grey’, which is a Romany word for horse.’
    travelling, rambling, roaming, roving, journeying, drifting, itinerant, floating, wayfaring, voyaging, touring
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Early 19th century: from Romany Romani, feminine and plural of the adjective Romano, from Rom man, husband (see Rom).