Meaning of gypsy in English:


Pronunciation /ˈdʒɪpsi/

See synonyms for gypsy

Translate gypsy into Spanish

nounplural noun gypsies

(also gipsy)
  • 1

    (also Gypsy)
    A member of a people originating in South Asia and traditionally having an itinerant way of life, living widely dispersed across Europe and North and South America and speaking a language (Romani) that is related to Hindi; a Romani person.

    ‘He was a political and social activist who devoted twenty years of his life to regaining the rights of gypsies.’
    • ‘Ten percent of the population of the new member states are Roma gypsies.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Recognizing the traveler the young gypsy dropped down in front of him.’
    • ‘He had a cardiac arrest after speaking at a rally for the gypsy and traveler community.’
    • ‘They were a gift given to him by a traveling gypsy when he visited his father's castle.’
    • ‘As a Briton, I am ashamed of the way we treat gypsies and travellers.’
    • ‘The village was small and away from any other, larger villages or towns, so the only travellers it saw were gypsies and a few wide-ranging traders.’
    • ‘Germans believe that they got this tradition from the gypsies who came from the Indian sub-continent in the days of yore.’
    • ‘Many planners believe the current problems stem from the removal of the statutory duty on county and unitary councils to provide sites for gypsies and travellers.’
    Romani, Roma, Rom, Romanichal, chal, gitano, gitana, tzigane, zingaro
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  • 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.’
    • ‘Becoming something of a gypsy, she traveled extensively and seemed to gravitate toward people who dabbled in mesmerism.’
    • ‘He became something of a gypsy, changing his address four more times before the end of the year.’
    itinerant, traveller, migrant, wanderer, wayfarer, roamer, rover, gypsy, Bedouin
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(also gipsy)
informal, dated US
  • (of a business or worker) non-unionized or unlicensed.

    • ‘gypsy trucking firms’


The word Gypsy is now sometimes considered derogatory or offensive, and has been replaced in many official contexts by Romani or Roma, but it remains the most widely used term for members of this community among English speakers


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