Definition of gypsy in US English:

gypsy

(also gipsy)

noun

  • 1A member of a traveling 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.

    • ‘Around 600,000 gypsies are believed to have died at the hands of the Nazis.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The long skirt billowed out from the cool breeze that wafted through the trees and down the path the gypsies were traveling upon.’
    • ‘They were a gift given to him by a traveling gypsy when he visited his father's castle.’
    • ‘But then, with the growing interest in gypsies, and in fortune-telling, many gypsies stopped travelling to become showmen.’
    • ‘She argued the English Romany gypsies would be incompatible at the Thingley site with Irish travellers already there.’
    • ‘After he said it, Brown was immediately angry with himself, for he truly wished to speak with the gypsies.’
    • ‘Ten percent of the population of the new member states are Roma gypsies, who have a long history of marginalisation and persecution.’
    • ‘The 56 itinerants, who say they are traditional Romany gipsies, bought a three-acre field.’
    • ‘Many Romany gypsies and Irish travellers have since been unable to find suitable sites and have occupied land without planning permission.’
    • ‘As a Briton, I am ashamed of the way we treat gypsies and travellers.’
    • ‘Romania's new minorities included substantial communities of Ukrainians, Bulgarians, gypsies, Germans, Hungarians, Tartars, Turks, and Jews.’
    • ‘Germans believe that they got this tradition from the gypsies who came from the Indian sub-continent in the days of yore.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Recognizing the traveler the young gypsy dropped down in front of him.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He had a cardiac arrest after speaking at a rally for the gypsy and traveler community in Basildon, Essex.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There was a small section in the museum to talk about other groups who were persecuted, including gay men, gypsies, trade unionists and communists.’
    romany, rom, chal, chai, gitano, gitana, tzigane, zingaro, zigeuner, zingana, didicoi
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    1. 1.1 The language of the gypsies; Romany.
  • 2A nomadic or free-spirited person.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    romany, rom, chal, chai, gitano, gitana, tzigane, zingaro, zigeuner, zingana, didicoi
    View synonyms

adjective

  • (of a business or business person) nonunion or unlicensed.

    ‘gypsy trucking firms’

Origin

Mid 16th century: originally gipcyan, short for Egyptian (because Gypsies were popularly supposed to have come from Egypt).

Pronunciation

gypsy

/ˈdʒɪpsi//ˈjipsē/