One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A member of a travelling people traditionally living by itinerant trade and fortune telling. Gypsies speak a language (Romany) that is related to Hindi and are believed to have originated in South Asia.
- ‘After he said it, Brown was immediately angry with himself, for he truly wished to speak with the gypsies.’
- ‘The village was small and away from any other, larger villages or towns, so the only travellers it saw where gypsies and a few wide-ranging traders.’
- ‘Many Romany gypsies and Irish travellers have since been unable to find suitable sites and have occupied land without planning permission.’
- ‘But then, with the growing interest in gypsies, and in fortune-telling, many gypsies stopped travelling to become showmen.’
- ‘They were a gift given to him by a traveling gypsy when he visited his father's castle.’
- ‘Recognizing the traveler the young gypsy dropped down in front of him.’
- ‘As a Briton, I am ashamed of the way we treat gypsies and travellers.’
- ‘Presumably, the itinerant musicians and gypsies carried this instrument in their wanderings across the continents of Asia and Europe, giving rise to a variety of instruments that are similar in nature.’
- ‘General interest in the practice of disposing of the dead by cremation, which was already established amongst groups such as gypsies who believed that the dead and their worldly goods should be burned, grew in the 19th cent.’
- ‘He was a political and social activist who devoted twenty years of his life to regaining the rights of gypsies and became a member of the gypsy community.’
- ‘Ten percent of the population of the new member states are Roma gypsies, who have a long history of marginalisation and persecution.’
- ‘The long skirt billowed out from the cool breeze that wafted through the trees and down the path the gypsies were traveling upon.’
- ‘The 56 itinerants, who say they are traditional Romany gipsies, bought a three-acre field.’
- ‘He had a cardiac arrest after speaking at a rally for the gypsy and traveler community in Basildon, Essex.’
- ‘Around 600,000 gypsies are believed to have died at the hands of the Nazis.’
- ‘Germans believe that they got this tradition from the gypsies who came from the Indian sub-continent in the days of yore.’
- ‘There was a small section in the museum to talk about other groups who were persecuted, including gay men, gypsies, trade unionists and communists.’
- ‘She argued the English Romany gypsies would be incompatible at the Thingley site with Irish travellers already there.’
- ‘Many planners believe the current problems stem from the removal in the mid-1990s by John Major's government of the statutory duty on county and unitary councils to provide sites for gypsies and travellers.’
- ‘Romania's new minorities included substantial communities of Ukrainians, Bulgarians, gypsies, Germans, Hungarians, Tartars, Turks, and Jews.’
- ‘The history of Romany gipsies and Irish travellers in Yorkshire is a long and turbulent one - and conflict with locals and the authorities is nothing new.’
2A nomadic or free-spirited person.‘why should she choose to wander the world with a penniless gypsy like me?’
- ‘It's why I have no difficulty with Carmen: even if I was not free, I understood her because I have a gypsy, nomadic side.’
- ‘He felt a certain sense of dread slowly creep over him as he watched her move to sit with another group of the nomadic gypsies.’
- ‘Depending upon the circumstances, a gypsy may retain his nomadic habit of life even though he is not travelling for the time being.’
Mid 16th century: originally gipcyan, short for Egyptian (because Gypsies were popularly supposed to have come from Egypt).
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