Open main menu

Wiktionary β


Wiktionary:Requests for verification - keptEdit

Kept. See archived discussion of February 2009. 07:02, 7 March 2009 (UTC)


Please provide evidence for this edit. There are significant differences between an Englishman perceiving the term as pejorative and a member of the addressed ethnicity perceiving it that way. E. g. there is a term гяур of Turkish origin, which is perceived as pejorative by Bulgarians and Serbs, because it was used to refer to infidels. The term is offensive in the Bulgarian and Serbo-Croatian languages (гяур, ђаур), but this does not make it pejorative in the Turkish language (where it means infidel). Same as here. Therefore, if a member of the addressed ethnicity perceives the terms as pejoratvie, this is no evidence that every native English speaker perceives it that way. Therefore, I plea for the removal of the tag pejorative, as long as the article lacks any sources whatsoever. This tag is appropriate in entries in the Gypsy language. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 10:47, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

This sentence from the usage notes However, Gypsy is far better known than Romani, and is not commonly understood to be insulting by non-Romani discloses the whole inapplicability of the tag pejorative to the English section. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 10:53, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

I had a look at the 27 general-use dictionaries listed by OneLook. Of those, MSN Encarta took me aback by smacking the term with a language-advisory warning, bypassing which reaches the definition, which is unæquivocal in asserting that Gypsy is “an offensive term for a member of the Roma people”. However, it was pretty much the only authority that called the term offensive, pejorative, derogatory, or whatever; it’s possible that they’re just being a little too enthusiastic with the political correctness. What allegedly makes it offensive probably has to do with the fact that it’s something of a misnomer, coming as it does from the same root as Ægyptian — “‘[t]he gipsies [sic] seem doomed to be associated with countries with which they have nothing to do’”, even in other languages (cf. the Middle French Bohémien (bohemian) and the Spanish Flamenco (from Flanders)). Webster’s 1913 Dictionary (perhaps unintentionally) sheds some light upon the cause for offence, seeing as it calls the Gypsies “a vagabond race … living by theft, fortune telling, horsejockeying, tinkering, etc.” and lists a sense of Gypsy defined as “[a] cunning or crafty person”., meanwhile, lists an informal adjectival sense of gypsy (lowercase) which implies criminality (“working independently or without a license”) and a nominal sense synonymous with its innocuous fourth sense of gyp (“an owner of racehorses who also acts as trainer and jockey”); however, the other three senses of gyp (which is supposedly a fin de siècle American backformation from Gypsy) are explicitly pejorative: two nouns — “a swindle or fraud” and “a swindler or cheat” — and a clearly related verb: “to defraud or rob by some sharp practice; swindle; cheat”. (Finally, I link to the WordNet 3.0 Vocabulary Helper, just because that which I found therein was interesting.) In conclusion: no, the pejorative tag is not without basis, but I think it’s overstating how offensive this term is. Old demonyms seem to be particularly good at being bedaubed by connotations of derogation, præsumably because racism is so widespread, even if it is generally considered unacceptable in mainstream Western and other advanced societies. However, demonyms don’t necessarily have use-by dates. I remember someone telling me once that the word Jew is offensive; I wager that she said so simply because she’d heard it used too frequently in unædifying conversation. Yet what is the alternative? *Judaist? Please… If a chain of terms for the same referent each in turn garners offensive connotations, then that tells us that there is something more fundamental that calls for reform than mere nomenclature. I don’t think Gypsy is offensive (FWIW, if Brits wanted to be offensive, they’d use gyppo / gippo in this case), but it’s worth pointing out that the origin of the name shows a mistaken association with Ægypt and that there exists a number of quæstionable and overtly offensive lexical offshoots which derive from Gypsy, all of which may contribute toward those of a more sensitive or paranoid bent perceiving this term to be pejorative.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 16:28, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
Doremítzwr, I really cannot understand why the tag is to remain, if 1) Encarta is the only valuable source rating the term as pejorative, and 2) you found confirmation for the pejorative nature of its derivations such as gyp or gippo. I did not want to contest the pejorative tag of gyp or gippo, but of Gypsy. Confer the following situation in Bulgarian: турчин is a neutral designation for a Turk, whereas потурча/потурчвам has the figurative sense of filch or to mislay, lose. And yet, however negative the sense of these derived terms may be, no one would claim that турчин is pejorative as well. Why do we let ourselves be influenced by the usage of the terms derived from Gypsy? Doremítzwr, can we resolve this issue the following way: if someone checked in the OED whether they have put this or another tag on the noun Gypsy, then I would settle for the tag remaining here as well. I sincerely hope that they are not overreacting in terms of political correctness as Encarta does. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 18:51, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
Sorry if I was unclear; I meant that the tag should be removed, but that a soberly-written usage note should remain, explaining the case as I described. FWIW, the OED makes no mention of the term being at all offensive.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 18:57, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
I was mislead by the above sentence the pejorative tag is not without basis, but as a whole I am relieved that we agree with regard to the applicability of the tag in this case. So we can get rid of the tag, especially since OED discards it. Are you satisfied with the current usage notes? I plan to remove the tag, but have no intention to modify them. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 20:30, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
That was meant to mean something like “His claim is not without basis, but I reject it nonetheless.”; sorry if that wasn’t clear. The usage notes need trimming, which I may bother doing at some point.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 01:11, 4 February 2010 (UTC)

Kalwant & Myers (2008) say not pejorative (Kalwant Bhopal Martin Myers (2008) Insiders, Outsiders and Others: Gypsies and Identity ,Univ of Hertfordshire Press, →ISBN p. 8) -- PBS (talk) 22:40, 25 February 2012 (UTC)

  • To the original poster and anyone else who thinks similarly, I say, quoting The Sinistral: "You don't have the right to tell other people what is or is not offensive to them." - -sche (discuss) 23:41, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
The "offensive" gloss doesn't mean "you should be offended by this", but "this is likely to offend people"! Equinox 23:43, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
In case it isn't clear, I agree with Equinox, and was saying to Bogorm (who thought the term was not offensive) "You don't have the right to tell other people what [] is not offensive to them." - -sche (discuss) 01:32, 1 September 2012 (UTC)
I have provided a source that state the word is used by Gypys to describe themselves and in British English the word is in common usage, is a legal term and very few consider it offensives, so who exactly are you saying finds it the term as used under English law offensive? -- PBS (talk) 15:06, 22 January 2013 (UTC)

Requested move to gipsyEdit

I suggest that this entry is moved from Gypsy to gipsy.

From the Oxford English Dictionary (Second edition, 1989; online version December 2011) Etymology section for the word gipsy:


From the quotations collected for the dictionary, the prevalent spelling of late years appears to have been gipsy . The plural gypsies is not uncommon, but the corresponding form in the singular seems to have been generally avoided, probably because of the awkward appearance of the repetition of y .


-- PBS (talk) 22:24, 25 February 2012 (UTC)

The following information has failed Wiktionary's deletion process.

It should not be re-entered without careful consideration.



RFD-sense: I think the sense "Of or belonging to the Gypsy race (Webster)." is redundant to "Of or belonging to the Romani people or one of it sub-groups (Roma, Sinti, Romanichel, etc)." - -sche (discuss) 01:54, 31 August 2012 (UTC)

  • Delete. Not just redundant, but circular and outmoded, to boot. Incidentally, the word "Webster" in this definition is not, as you might think, an indication that this definition was taken from Webster; it was not. Rather, it is a reference to the Webster 1913 definition of gypsy, which used to be present in our entry verbatim. So this sense is just an orphan from that time. —Caesura(t) 17:24, 31 August 2012 (UTC)
Webster 1913 had:
  1. One of a vagabond race, whose tribes, coming originally from India, entered Europe in 14th or 15th centry, and are now scattered over Turkey, Russia, Hungary, Spain, England, etc., living by theft, fortune telling, horsejockeying, tinkering, etc. Cf. Bohemian, Romany.
    Like a right gypsy, hath, at fast and loose, Beguiled me to the very heart of loss. Shak.
  2. The language used by the gypsies. Shak.
  3. A dark-complexioned person. Shak.
  4. A cunning or crafty person [Collog.] Prior.
Note that three are claimed to be attested from Shakespeare, though obviously Shakespeare doesn't support all that encyclopedic content.
We have a large number of obsolete and archaic senses, including offensive ones, for all sorts of words, and aspire to have more. Keep, reword, and use {{defdate}}. DCDuring TALK 20:14, 31 August 2012 (UTC)
You may have missed the point; we're questioning the adjective sense, none of the Webster's sense above are adjectives. Also we're calling it redundant rather than wrong. I support the deletion. Mglovesfun (talk) 20:20, 31 August 2012 (UTC)
@DCDuring: thanks; those are probably attested (if no longer current) noun senses of Gypsy (or possibly gypsy). The language sense is already present in [[Gypsy]]. And I'll see about adding the last two senses, "dark-complexioned person" and "crafty person", added to the appropriate entry (lower- vs uppercase) with appropriate tags. - -sche (discuss) 21:59, 31 August 2012 (UTC)
It's a little hard to tell the legitimacy of an denominal adjective PoS when the noun is not fully defined. How do we even know that it is a true adjective? ?"They are very/too gypsy." ?"He is more gypsy than they are." In what senses do these work? DCDuring TALK 23:55, 31 August 2012 (UTC)
Sense deleted. - -sche (discuss) 23:46, 9 September 2012 (UTC)

Return to "Gypsy" page.