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Six English words borrowed from the Romany language

romany traveller words

Lecturer in Language and linguistics, Nottingham Trent University

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Peter Lee does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities have been part of the UK’s regional populations for centuries. Roma communities are documented to have migrated to the UK during the early 15th century and evidence is found among a variety of official legal documentation and formal correspondence. As part of a wider community referred to as Gypsy Roma and Traveller, Roma have often faced hostility and inequality. It may be surprising then to hear that Romany, an unwritten language spoken by Roma communities is used in everyday English. Romany is a language spoken by communities who live largely across Europe.

The Romany language and culture have been associated with central and northern India and inherits a significant part of its linguistic heritage from Sanskrit alongside modern Indian languages such as Hindi, Urdu and Gujarati. In this sense, it is considered the only Indo Aryan-derived European language.

While there are large communities of Romany speakers across Europe and beyond, only a small number of people in the UK speak a fully grammatical version. Within the UK, the majority of speakers use what is referred to as Anglo-Romany. This is a language unique to the Anglo-Roma of the UK and with a historical and linguistic connection to Romany culture. You may be surprised by some of the words that have been incorrectly labelled as colloquial or slang in English, which are in fact words that have crossed over from Anglo-Romany.

Here are six such words including their meaning found in regional dialects in England with their Romany historical links explained.

This is a word considered slang according to many online dictionaries. However, this is actually an Anglo-Romany word used for “money”. The word derives from the European Romany word “ vangar ” and is a word used for “coal”, having a clear and historical association of value. There are a number of variations used across Anglo-Romany speaking communities for money and these range from “ vonga ” to “ luvna ”.

Loads of notes.

The word “chav” has been popularised as a slur in English to mean a person whose behaviour shows a lack of education or someone having a lower-class status . But the meaning of “chav” or “chavvi” in Anglo-Romany simply means “boy” or “girl” or even just “child”. “chavo” for boy, “chavi” for girl and “chave” meaning children.

This is another word that was brought into mainstream use and is often associated with the comedy character Del Boy in the popular British sitcom Only Fools and Horses. The word “cushty”, sometimes spelled “kushti” in Anglo-Romany is used as an affirmative adjective and means “good” or “fantastic”. The meaning of cushty originates from an older Romany word “ kuč ”, meaning expensive. Its use in English is most likely linked to dialect mixing of Anglo-Roma communities and east London cockney speakers.

4. Chingering

According to the online source the urban dictionary the word “ chingering ” means to caress another person’s chin in a sensual way. This is quite far removed from the meaning of the word chingering used amongst speakers of Anglo-Romany. This word is used to refer to quarrelling or to the act of insulting someone. The word again derives from the Romany words “ čhinger ” and “ čhingerel ” meaning to quarrel or shout.

This is perhaps the most well-used example of a Romany word found in everyday English, most typically meaning “friend” in English. This term actually originates from the Romany word “phral” meaning brother. The Anglo-Romany word pal is also used for brother and has been extended and again crossed over through dialect contact over the centuries into everyday English.

The English slang word “peeved” is sometimes used to refer to someone who has drunk too much alcohol and is again derived from a Romany word. The European Romany word “ pijav ” means “drink” and shows a direct connection with the English slang.

These are only a few examples and words such as “lollipop”, and “doylum” are also words from Anglo-Romany. There are many other words from Anglo-Romany that have been adopted into English, and most likely a regional dialect you know will have some fascinating examples.

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Words that you use everyday that came from the Romany Gypsy language

These Romany words and terms have made their way into the fabric of the English language

  • 05:00, 1 JAN 2024

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From cushty to cosh, and gavver to gibberish, here are some common words in the English language that you probably didn’t know originated from Romany Gypsies. The Romany - sometimes spelt Romani - language is an unwritten language thought to have originated in northern India, particularly from the Hindi, Sanskrit and Punjabi languages.

There are very few people in the UK that speak it, and only 5 to 6 million in Europe and the USA. The largest concentrations of Roma people now live in Turkey, Spain and Romania, and in England they are commonly referred to as Gypsies. According to the 2011 census, 635 Gypsy, traveller and Irish traveller people were living in Cornwall.

However this is recognised by the Government as an under count as many are scared to disclose their ethnicity. Therefore it is suggested the figure is more likely around 3,000.

Read more: Behind the Cornish language revival and the people who speak Kernewek

Read more: More and more people in Cornwall learning Cornish as list of 20 key words and phrases released

Over the decades, common phrases and words used by travelling families in Britain have slowly cemented themselves into the workings of the English language and are often treated as slang or colloquialisms – but that’s not the case at all.

Here are some of the most commonly-used words and phrases derived from Gypsy language and their meanings.

What we know as that delightful counter where you are served drinks, or the things that prevent you from leaving your prison cell, the word bar originally comes from the word ‘stone’ in Romany. But, it actually means a pound coin or a pound note when used.

An extremely popular term in the English language, the word chav is used to describe a lower-class youth - perhaps dressed in sportswear.

But the term actually comes from the Romany word ‘ chavi’, meaning child.

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Cosh, a word used in English to describe a type of weapon (a heavy stick or a bar), actually derived from the Romany word ‘cosht’ which means ‘stick’.

One of many catchphrases popularised by Derek 'Del Boy' Trotter in Only Fools and Horses, the term cushty actually comes from Romany word ‘kushitipen’ or ‘kushti’ and literally means ‘very good’.

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Dick was a word commonly used to refer to a detective or private investigator in the 19th century. ‘To dick’ would literally mean ‘to watch’ and comes from the Romany word ‘dik,’ which means to look and to see.

This common word used to insult people or point out a lack of intelligence comes from the Romany term ‘divvy’ which means mad.

Another word used to describe policeman or policewoman that comes from the Romany Gypsy word ‘garav’ which means hide.

We use the word gibberish to describe someone talking nonsense, but it is believed to have derived from the Romani word ‘jib’, meaning tongue as well as language.

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The name for this sweet tooth favourite among Brits actually comes from Romany ‘loli phabai’ which means red apple. It was first a Roma tradition to sell candied apples on a stick.

Most often heard nowadays to describe someone as steaming drunk, the term Mullered actually comes from the Romany word ‘muller’ which means dead or killed.

The term used to describe a police informer comes from the Romany word ‘nāk’ which means nose.

romany traveller words

Probably the best known English expression to come from the Romany language is pal. The term used to describe friends comes from Romany word ‘phral’ which means brother.

Commonly used in the North of England to describe food, the word scran is believed to have derived from the Romany word ‘satan’ which means to eat.

What we know as a container that can be found on building sites actually comes from Romany word ‘skip’, meaning basket.

Used to refer to clothing – more commonly swimming gear – togs is a Romany word meaning clothes.

The word wonga – most famously used by the former payday loan provider of the same name – actually comes from the Romany word ‘vonga’ meaning coal as well as money.

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Article was first published in 2022

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Gypsy Roma and Traveller History and Culture

Gypsy Roma and Traveller people belong to minority ethnic groups that have contributed to British society for centuries. Their distinctive way of life and traditions manifest themselves in nomadism, the centrality of their extended family, unique languages and entrepreneurial economy. It is reported that there are around 300,000 Travellers in the UK and they are one of the most disadvantaged groups. The real population may be different as some members of these communities do not participate in the census .

The Traveller Movement works predominantly with ethnic Gypsy, Roma, and Irish Traveller Communities.

Irish Travellers and Romany Gypsies

Irish Travellers

Traditionally, Irish Travellers are a nomadic group of people from Ireland but have a separate identity, heritage and culture to the community in general. An Irish Traveller presence can be traced back to 12th century Ireland, with migrations to Great Britain in the early 19th century. The Irish Traveller community is categorised as an ethnic minority group under the Race Relations Act, 1976 (amended 2000); the Human Rights Act 1998; and the Equality Act 2010. Some Travellers of Irish heritage identify as Pavee or Minceir, which are words from the Irish Traveller language, Shelta.

Romany Gypsies

Romany Gypsies have been in Britain since at least 1515 after migrating from continental Europe during the Roma migration from India. The term Gypsy comes from “Egyptian” which is what the settled population perceived them to be because of their dark complexion. In reality, linguistic analysis of the Romani language proves that Romany Gypsies, like the European Roma, originally came from Northern India, probably around the 12th century. French Manush Gypsies have a similar origin and culture to Romany Gypsies.

There are other groups of Travellers who may travel through Britain, such as Scottish Travellers, Welsh Travellers and English Travellers, many of whom can trace a nomadic heritage back for many generations and who may have married into or outside of more traditional Irish Traveller and Romany Gypsy families. There were already indigenous nomadic people in Britain when the Romany Gypsies first arrived hundreds of years ago and the different cultures/ethnicities have to some extent merged.

Number of Gypsies and Travellers in Britain

This year, the 2021 Census included a “Roma” category for the first time, following in the footsteps of the 2011 Census which included a “Gypsy and Irish Traveller” category. The 2021 Census statistics have not yet been released but the 2011 Census put the combined Gypsy and Irish Traveller population in England and Wales as 57,680. This was recognised by many as an underestimate for various reasons. For instance, it varies greatly with data collected locally such as from the Gypsy Traveller Accommodation Needs Assessments, which total the Traveller population at just over 120,000, according to our research.

Other academic estimates of the combined Gypsy, Irish Traveller and other Traveller population range from 120,000 to 300,000. Ethnic monitoring data of the Gypsy Traveller population is rarely collected by key service providers in health, employment, planning and criminal justice.

Where Gypsies and Travellers Live

Although most Gypsies and Travellers see travelling as part of their identity, they can choose to live in different ways including:

  • moving regularly around the country from site to site and being ‘on the road’
  • living permanently in caravans or mobile homes, on sites provided by the council, or on private sites
  • living in settled accommodation during winter or school term-time, travelling during the summer months
  • living in ‘bricks and mortar’ housing, settled together, but still retaining a strong commitment to Gypsy/Traveller culture and traditions

Currently, their nomadic life is being threatened by the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, that is currently being deliberated in Parliament, To find out more or get involved with opposing this bill, please visit here

Although Travellers speak English in most situations, they often speak to each other in their own language; for Irish Travellers this is called Cant or Gammon* and Gypsies speak Romani, which is the only indigenous language in the UK with Indic roots.

*Sometimes referred to as “Shelta” by linguists and academics

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New Travellers and Show People

There are also Traveller groups which are known as ‘cultural’ rather than ‘ethnic’ Travellers. These include ‘new’ Travellers and Showmen. Most of the information on this page relates to ethnic Travellers but ‘Showmen’ do share many cultural traits with ethnic Travellers.

Show People are a cultural minority that have owned and operated funfairs and circuses for many generations and their identity is connected to their family businesses. They operate rides and attractions that can be seen throughout the summer months at funfairs. They generally have winter quarters where the family settles to repair the machinery that they operate and prepare for the next travelling season. Most Show People belong to the Showmen’s Guild which is an organisation that provides economic and social regulation and advocacy for Show People. The Showman’s Guild works with both central and local governments to protect the economic interests of its members.

The term New Travellers refers to people sometimes referred to as “New Age Travellers”. They are generally people who have taken to life ‘on the road’ in their own lifetime, though some New Traveller families claim to have been on the road for three consecutive generations. The New Traveller culture grew out of the hippie and free-festival movements of the 1960s and 1970s.

Barge Travellers are similar to New Travellers but live on the UK’s 2,200 miles of canals. They form a distinct group in the canal network and many are former ‘new’ Travellers who moved onto the canals after changes to the law made the free festival circuit and a life on the road almost untenable. Many New Travellers have also settled into private sites or rural communes although a few groups are still travelling.

If you are a new age Traveller and require support please contact Friends, Families, and Travellers (FFT) .

Differences and Values

Differences Between Gypsies, Travellers, and Roma

Gypsies, Roma and Travellers are often categorised together under the “Roma” definition in Europe and under the acronym “GRT” in Britain. These communities and other nomadic groups, such as Scottish and English Travellers, Show People and New Travellers, share a number of characteristics in common: the importance of family and/or community networks; the nomadic way of life, a tendency toward self-employment, experience of disadvantage and having the poorest health outcomes in the United Kingdom.

The Roma communities also originated from India from around the 10th/ 12th centuries and have historically faced persecution, including slavery and genocide. They are still marginalised and ghettoised in many Eastern European countries (Greece, Bulgaria, Romania etc) where they are often the largest and most visible ethnic minority group, sometimes making up 10% of the total population. However, ‘Roma’ is a political term and a self-identification of many Roma activists. In reality, European Roma populations are made up of various subgroups, some with their own form of Romani, who often identify as that group rather than by the all-encompassing Roma identity.

Travellers and Roma each have very different customs, religion, language and heritage. For instance, Gypsies are said to have originated in India and the Romani language (also spoken by Roma) is considered to consist of at least seven varieties, each a language in their own right.

Values and Culture of GRT Communities

Family, extended family bonds and networks are very important to the Gypsy and Traveller way of life, as is a distinct identity from the settled ‘Gorja’ or ‘country’ population. Family anniversaries, births, weddings and funerals are usually marked by extended family or community gatherings with strong religious ceremonial content. Gypsies and Travellers generally marry young and respect their older generation. Contrary to frequent media depiction, Traveller communities value cleanliness and tidiness.

Many Irish Travellers are practising Catholics, while some Gypsies and Travellers are part of a growing Christian Evangelical movement.

Gypsy and Traveller culture has always adapted to survive and continues to do so today. Rapid economic change, recession and the gradual dismantling of the ‘grey’ economy have driven many Gypsy and Traveller families into hard times. The criminalisation of ‘travelling’ and the dire shortage of authorised private or council sites have added to this. Some Travellers describe the effect that this is having as “a crisis in the community” . A study in Ireland put the suicide rate of Irish Traveller men as 3-5 times higher than the wider population. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the same phenomenon is happening amongst Traveller communities in the UK.

Gypsies and Travellers are also adapting to new ways, as they have always done. Most of the younger generation and some of the older generation use social network platforms to stay in touch and there is a growing recognition that reading and writing are useful tools to have. Many Gypsies and Travellers utilise their often remarkable array of skills and trades as part of the formal economy. Some Gypsies and Travellers, many supported by their families, are entering further and higher education and becoming solicitors, teachers, accountants, journalists and other professionals.

There have always been successful Gypsy and Traveller businesses, some of which are household names within their sectors, although the ethnicity of the owners is often concealed. Gypsies and Travellers have always been represented in the fields of sport and entertainment.

How Gypsies and Travellers Are Disadvantaged

The Traveller, Gypsy, and Roma communities are widely considered to be among the most socially excluded communities in the UK. They have a much lower life expectancy than the general population, with Traveller men and women living 10-12 years less than the wider population.

Travellers have higher rates of infant mortality, maternal death and stillbirths than the general population. They experience racist sentiment in the media and elsewhere, which would be socially unacceptable if directed at any other minority community. Ofsted consider young Travellers to be one of the groups most at risk of low attainment in education.

Government services rarely include Traveller views in the planning and delivery of services.

In recent years, there has been increased political networking between the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller activists and campaign organisations.

Watch this video by Travellers Times made for Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month 2021:

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Useful phrases in Romani

A collection of useful phrases in Romani, an Indo-Aryan language spoken in many parts of Europe.

Jump to phrases

See these phrases in any combination of two languages in the Phrase Finder . If you can provide recordings, corrections or additional translations, please contact me .

Key to abbreviations: frm = formal, inf = informal, sg = singular (said to one person), pl = plural (said to more than one person), >m = said to males, >f = said to females.

Corrections and additions by Piroska Raczgypsy and Filip Hromčík

Hear some Romani phrases

If you would like to make any corrections or additions to this page, or if you can provide recordings, please contact me .

Information about Romani | Phrases | Tower of Babel

Other collections of Romani phrases https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SyojvlmbzPM https://uk.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20070311091110AAxqzcX

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Damian Le Bas

‘I don’t look like most people’s idea of a Gypsy’

I t is Friday night. I’m 30 years old, alone on a fake-fur blanket in the back of a cold Transit van. Most of my generation are out there in pubs, or indoors by the telly, canoodling, arguing or cooking, or going across to the thermostat to turn the heating up. I’m parked on a Cornish industrial estate with no warmth except the tiny, wavering plume of heat that rises out of my lantern. This place is so lonesome that even the doggers, boy-racers and stoners have spurned it. I curse myself silently. You’re not a Traveller, my mate, you’re a div. What sort of Traveller would come and sleep here on their own? I have covered thousands of miles in my van in a bid to uncover the history of Gypsy Britain. But the road is proving tough.

Gypsy reality is partly composed of fairgrounds and showgrounds, picturesque lakeside halts, sheltered commons, bright heaths. But it also comprised frozen copses and hilltops. Old maintenance roads with potholes and bad light. Scrapyards. Council waste ground. Lay-bys near the edges of tips. Slag-heaps and drained marshes. Fen ends. Chalk pits, yards and quarries. These are the stopping places, these fringes and in-between places. They are the places that nobody lives except Travellers – or nobody but those who share ancient connections with them: gamekeepers and poachers, scrap-metal men, horsewomen, rangers and shepherds. They are the old nomads’ haunts of the island. Many are smashed and built over; some – magically – are still more or less just as they were in centuries long past. They form the hidden Gypsy and Traveller map of the country we live in: they are the bedrock of our reality and, perhaps, the antidote to the unending cycles of romanticisation and demonisation.

I had conceived a plan to visit these places, to live in them in my own way, and see what I might learn. Perhaps I might even solve the bizarre contradiction of Britain’s love affair with caravanning, camping and glamping, and its hatred of those who were born to this life, and who largely inspired its adoption as a non-Gypsy pastime. As one Scottish Gypsy Traveller put it: “There are 80,000 members of the Caravan Club, but I’m not allowed to travel?”

There is more to this Gypsy geography than a list of physical places. The stopping places themselves are an outgrowth of something non-physical, something that is ancient, unseen yet important, precious and reviled, envied and feared. This thing is the Gypsy belief – the core belief of the culture – that it is possible to live in a different way: in your own way, part of the world, but not imprisoned by the rules. That you can know the ropes and yet not be hemmed in by them. That you can dwell alongside the mainstream, while not being part of it. Otter-like, you can live in the bank of the river and swim and hunt there when you need to, and then climb back out with equal ease and alacrity. There is no better symbol of this belief than the network of atchin tans (stopping places) laced across Britain; they are historical, topographical proof that the Gypsy philosophy has existed here, that it still does, that it still can. By staying at the traditional stopping places, I hoped to answer the questions that had been following me, on and off, all my life. What is left of these places? What might we learn from them? What redemption might lie there, in a country that still passes new legislation aimed at ending the Traveller way of life? Is it still possible to live on the road? Was the end of the old Gypsy life a tragedy, or was it a case of good riddance to an irredeemably hard and pitiless life on the edge? Above all, I hoped to resolve the biggest question: the question of myself, whether I could make my peace with Gypsy culture. My conflict seemed to echo the wider tension between nomads and settled people that endures in modern Britain.

O n the way to our regular pitch selling flowers in the marketplace in Petersfield, my elders would point and nod at empty spaces by the sides of the road, flat areas on verges and slightly raised banks, vacant pull-ins and lay-bys, and make comments as if there was something there, something I couldn’t see. They were glimmers of another world, but it felt as distant as the stars. I knew the places had something to do with the time they were “on the road” – most of my family were settled now, living in houses or caravans and mobile homes on private bits of land.

Travellers I knew from the east of England had lived rough deep into the recent past, still working the farms into the 1990s. By then, it had been the best part of 50 years since anyone in my family had depended on that kind of work. So it came as a shock to meet Travellers younger than me who had grown up picking turnips in January. They described reaching down with a gloved hand and grabbing hold of the big, leafy tops, how it would sometimes send a plug of ice shooting upwards.

Alongside selling flowers, my family had roofing and car-breaking businesses. We had a big field and a yard, a word that seemed to mean a place where all things might, and did, happen. Terriers, geese and perturbed-looking cockerels roamed in between the legs of cantankerous horses. Stables were stacked full of the musty paraphernalia of horsemanship, flower-selling, roofing and car respraying. Bits of cars lay everywhere, named as if they were the parts or clothes of people or animals: bonnets, boots, seats, wings, belts. There were brass-handled horsewhips, jangling harnesses, buckets of molasses-sprayed chaff and milled sugar-beet, bales of sweet-smelling fresh hay. But all of this old rustic stuff was stacked and wedged in among the hard and greasy gear of the family economy: gas bottles, blowtorches, leaky old engines, spray paint, rolls of lead, felt, and seemingly infinite stacks of every conceivable type of roof tile. A heavy boxing bag swung with barely perceptible creaks, keeping time in the half-light of the dusty old garage.

A palm reader’s caravan at Appleby fair.

There were caravans there that we sometimes lived in and out of, especially in the summer. We never considered this odd, even though we also had a big house on the land that my grandad had built with his men. And there always seemed to be heavy and dangerous things lying close to hand. The hard stuff of motion was everywhere, although we were settled: cars, tractors and trucks, some brand-new, others eaten by weather and time; horses, ponies, traps, sulkies and carts; scattered wheels and bolts from Ford and Bedford lorries. And, hung from a barn door like a pair of swords and scabbing to ochre with rust, there were two axles rescued from the ashes of the last wagon owned by our family.

We had a name for ourselves: Travellers. In our case, it didn’t just mean anyone who travelled around, regardless of their race: to us it meant our people specifically, the Romanies of Britain. The first Romanies probably arrived on the British mainland towards the end of the 15th century, and had been a contentious presence ever since.

W herever the Gypsies went, they took with them their strange tongue, Romani, and it was through this that the mystery of their origins was solved. An 18th-century German linguist called Johann Rüdiger overheard Gypsies talking, and was struck by the similarity of their speech to Indian languages. Later linguists, including the so-called “Romany Ryes” – rye being the Romani word for a gentleman – such as the English writer George Borrow and the Irish academic John Sampson, would identify layers of borrowings from Persian, Slavic and Romance languages in the Gypsies’ speech, using these to trace a philological map of their long road into the West. English Romani had German-derived words in it, like nixis , meaning “nothing”, and fogel for “smell”.

As for the name of the Romanies, it was derived from their own word for “man” or “husband”, rom , and it had nothing to do with Romania, which got its name from the Roman military camps which once filled its territory. The Gypsies called their language Romanes , an adverb meaning “like a rom ”. To rokker Romanes meant, simply, to talk like a Gypsy and not like a gorjer – a non-Gypsy. The word gorjies comes from the old Romany word gadje or gadzhe , and though its form has mutated with time, its meaning is the same: the non-Gypsies, outsiders, the people-who-aren’t-us.

Almost everyone who has studied Romani in Britain has remarked on how adept its speakers are at coming up with names for things. In some ways, talking Romanes means having to be constantly inventive and alert, both in terms of creating words and also interpreting the new ones that get spun off the cuff and thrown into daily Traveller conversation. There is no stigma attached to inventing words, as there so often is in English; nor are new words looked down upon as annoying neologisms that we’d be better off without. Invented words are more likely to be smiled upon or chuckled at as evidence of a witty, intelligent mind; one with a good and flexible grasp of the ancient Travellers’ tongue.

Besides, if Romani is to retain one of the functions which has kept it alive thus far – and which it has in common with almost all minority languages – namely, to stop outsiders knowing what you are talking about, then it will always be necessary to invent new ways of saying things. According to a Belarusian Romany man I once met, a word is no longer a truly Romani word once its meaning becomes known amongst the gadzhe – it is useless, dead, and best left where it is. This is an extreme opinion, but it points to a common anxiety: that the language will lose its power if it becomes too widely known. Yet words come and go as they please, like mood and temper; traded by friends, explained by lovers, and hurled across the fray. Every Gypsy who “gives away” the Romani language risks the accusation of treason.

I n the old Romany tradition, you can only call yourself a true Romany Gypsy – one of the kaulo ratti , the black blood – if all your ancestors, as far as you know, are of the tribe. I can trace my Romany ancestry back at least six generations; I was brought up to know the Romani language; to learn the old tales and to keep the Romanipen – the cleanliness taboos of the old-fashioned Gypsies. I was raised, and still live, in a Romany psychological realm; a mental Gypsyland.

I have both Gypsy and non-Gypsy blood and so, in many Travellers’ eyes, I do not have the right to call myself a true-bred Romany. It does not matter that there is no such thing as a racially pure Gypsy: over a 1,000-year migration it is virtually impossible that there will have been no mingling in the line. The mixing in my family had happened within living memory, and this meant I was at best a poshrat – a mixed-blood Gypsy – and at worst a “half- chat gorjie ” or, as a friend once memorably put it, a “fucked-up half-breed”.

I do not look like most people’s idea of a typical Gypsy, my blue eyes and fair hair belying my origins, my picture of myself. My identity was inside me and the outside didn’t match up. It imbued me with a tetchy defensiveness, and a resentment of people whom I then believed had simpler ethnicities: Scottish, Nigerian, Han.

I felt so close to my roots, and especially to the Romany women who had brought me up – my mum; her mother, Gran; and Gran’s mother, Nan. But this seemed to count for little in a world which, for all its modernity, still believed in labels such as “half-caste”, “full-blood” and “mixed race”. Later, as a teenager, I started carrying photographs of darker-haired family members in my wallet, to challenge the disbelief of those who thought I was lying about my Romany background. I lived in a world that wasn’t sure if I really belonged in it, and so I wasn’t sure, either. Regardless, it was where I was. Our family were the mistrusted local Gypsies, the bane of the decent, upstanding parish council. We were “gyppos”, “pikeys”, “ diddakois ”, “them lot”. Locally, we were infamous. The divide was crystal clear.

Damian Le Bas with his Transit van

Compared with the insults and slurs, the words Romanies, Gypsies, and Travellers were dignified, and we used all of them interchangeably. The greater part of our family owned their own yards and bungalows, but the name Travellers still seemed to make sense. There were wheels everywhere, and we were always on hair-trigger alert to hook up trailers and go when the need arose: we drove miles for a living, and had family who lived on the road. Some places with links to the Travellers were not easily romanticised. The sides of the M1, the A1, the A303 and the M25 are peppered with modern-day atchin tans . They are sites with access to opportunities to earn money, and – being less desirable to non-Gypsies – also the sorts of locales where less cash is needed to set up a camp.

Such places symbolise the misunderstood truth of many Traveller lives, which is that they are neither permanently nomadic, nor ever truly static. Howbeit, these yards provide a base, the highway is right beside them, ready for the times when family ties, work, a wedding, a funeral, the fair season, beckon. Councils refer to them as “sites close to the key regional transport corridors, favoured by Gypsies and Travellers”. Travellers call them :“Handy, being right by that main road”. Handy, yes, but still handcuffed to tragedy. Every family is haunted by stories of relatives, too often toddlers, who have been knocked down and killed by their literal closeness to roads.

The word “Gypsy” wasn’t often heard back when I was a teenager. When it was, it was usually as part of a story about the old days, where someone had shouted out, “Dirty Gypsies!” and nine times out of 10 a fight had ensued, which the dirty Gypsies – who, in my grandad’s words, were “rough, tough and made out of the right stuff” – almost always won.

In our world, arguments are often resolved by somebody leaving and the relationship being severed. If this doesn’t happen, then there will almost always be a fight. In the best-case scenario, it’ll just be a fair fist fight, nice and clean, one-on-one, with a referee to see fair play and as few spectators as possible to get sucked into the row. It can be between two men or two women: it’s usually men, but not always. These things are often organised quickly in a place right out of the way, so the law is unlikely to be an issue; plus, some police officers I’ve spoken to even seem to have a laissez-faire stance on it, possibly because they have seen worse ways of ending a row than a bare-knuckle fight. Worst-case scenario, it will not be clean and it will not be fair, and the more people that get involved, the more likely that is. If weapons come into it, then the police are especially likely to show an interest.

The proceedings of the Old Bailey from 1674-1913 are speckled with references to London’s Gypsies and Travellers. There is a website that explains why they were “over-represented in the proceedings”: they formed part of “what many contemporaries considered a dangerous and crime-prone “residuum”’, which seeped back into the city at autumn following the end of the temporary farm work. It goes on, telling how “in a working-class mirror to the elite’s “London Season”, October and November saw hundreds and thousands of men, women and children returning to the capital from hop-picking and market gardening, from touring the fairs and tramping in search of work”. It was a yearly migration from the city to the countryside and back that continued, for some, right up to the 1950s.

For all its flighty connotations, Gypsy culture can be stifling in its demands for living in line with its hidden rules. Rock stars employ “Gypsy” to mean those who have escaped from moral claustrophobia, but in reality, Gypsies are just as likely to feel confined as anybody else. In Glasgow, I watched as a troupe of little girls from the local Roma community danced in brightly coloured dresses at a community event. They clicked their fingers on outstretched arms and sang “ Ja tuke tuke ” to a furious klezmer beat. The audience clapped and twirled, unaware of the lyrics’ meaning: “Get away from me.”

N an talks of the old paradox that we have heard about all of our lives. The hardship of old times, versus the sense of togetherness that Travellers have lost. The gratitude for comforts that not long ago were undreamed of and unheard of, set against the moral corruption, unhappiness and constant malaise that have come from an overfast integration into the gorjies ’ consumerist world.

For centuries, politicians had guessed that if Gypsies could be settled in regular housing, then within a few short generations they would be just like everyone else. There would be no need for a word for outsiders, because we would be just like them. But that isn’t what has happened. Many Gypsies now live either in housing, or on permanent caravan sites, not in meadows or lanes or lay-bys or by the sides of old tips. And yet they are still what they are, changed in some ways, but different enough to draw the old line between themselves and the gorjies .

I sometimes wonder what Nan thinks I am. Of course, I am her great-grandson, born from her line, flesh and blood. But I’m not what she calls a “true Traveller”. Aside from my mixed roots, I wasn’t born to that life: I arrived into a changed era, one of stability, stasis, hot running water, and Christmases stacked with teetering piles of presents. The Romany bloodline never dies out. But the life of the Traveller changes, sometimes so much so that you could forgive the outside world for thinking the people themselves have vanished.

Lisa Wilkinson walking her horse Casper on the way to the Appleby Horse Fair

When I was small, Horsmonden in Kent was a typical Travellers’ horse fair. This meant that most people weren’t actually there for the horses. It’s true that a core of those who came, mostly men but quite a few women as well, were proper horse people. They came towing their boxes with strong cobs standing inside, tethered in the half-light; their two-wheeled sulkies – light trotting carts with a seat big enough for one or two people – and their harness, head collars and whips. But people came from far and near to the fair, and most of them weren’t interested in any equine displays. If they were, then it was simply because they provided an authentic backdrop. What they were interested in depended on the individual: but mostly, they were interested in each other. It is a quirk of our scatteredness: a few hundred thousand people at most, flecked across Britain’s damp islands, and we meet mostly at weddings, funerals and fairs. The horse trade has its ups and downs – as I write this, it’s down, the worst in my lifetime. But the horse fairs will persist, because their purpose goes beyond trade.

When the days are hot and tanned skins gleam with sweat in the sun, it is clear once again that horse fairs are shop windows for young brides and husbands. They always have been. This much, at least, is gospel, and proudly announced to journalists and inquisitive souls who come asking questions about the culture. But not every dalliance ends in a marriage, and rumours occasionally flare of unauthorised, ultra-brief flings at the fringes of fairs: dangerous liaisons that lead to bad names, fights, or worse, feuds that run on and on.

For the not so young, what they seek from each other is something subtler, less clear to outsiders, but an equally powerful draw. I suspect few would want to explain what it was, for fear of sapping its power by giving it voice. What the fairs offer is a chance to track the progress of our lives: to reminisce about previous years when we trod the same field, but equally to remark on how far we have come.

We polish and dress up our lives for the day and compare them to the lives of others, affirming their context, confirming their meaning. The fairs are where we remind ourselves who we are. It’s not that we don’t keep being who we are in between – of course we do. But the fairs provide a special concentration of Traveller experience, a tincture of what it is to be a Gypsy. At a horse fair we get to see, just for one day, what life would be like if the world shared our Gypsy priorities.

And then there are those who despise both horses and the fairs. For some families, the horse had its day a long time ago. I once asked my mate Charles if he and his family used to go to the fairs up north, which is where he comes from. He looked at me as though the question was perverse. “We don’t mind a day at the races, but Damian, can you see me or me dad, or any of us here, fucking about with horses? My great-great-grandad was a proper Gypsy man, and he was driving a Rolls-Royce a hundred year ago.”

T raveller culture, preoccupied though it can be with bygone times, has always preferred the tangible: today’s bread, the here and the now. As Nan says, “You can only eat one meal at a time.” In the past, writers took this as evidence that Gypsies inhabited a “heroic present”, lacking a sense of history and living so sharply in the moment that concepts such as deferred gratification were lost on them. I have always dismissed such ideas as inherently dangerous: they are liable to slide into essentialism, and the belief that races have irreconcilable differences. But maybe in turning so sharply away from a lie, I lost sight of a truth: that the present holds a finer promise than the past with its shadows and dust. In an inversion of the obvious, perhaps even the Traveller obsession with cemetery maintenance itself supports this view. After all, isn’t the act of placing flowers on a tomb a gesture of bringing a little life back to the dead?

After the fair at Horsmonden, I largely avoided gatherings of people, spending time in empty stopping places, visiting forlorn churches and well-kept graves. It is dawning on me that there is only so much I can learn from this. Another of Nan’s catchphrases comes to me: “There are no pockets in shrouds.” Perhaps this saying, a caution against overzealous pursuit of riches, masks a second meaning as well. There is a poverty to death; a limit to how much a skeleton can teach you about a life it no longer knows.

I realised how sparsely furnished my van was. Its naked pale blue surfaces stared at me like sheets of ice. For eight months, I had been travelling with what I thought were the bare essentials – bed, stove, wash gear, clothes and so forth. But there were other trappings of Romany life, when it was lived most richly: beautiful furnishings, gilded surfaces, portable pictures, talismans and silks. I’ve been missing a trick: the means by which a difficult life was rendered livable and even, at times, enviable.

When I asked Mum for help, she looked happy, as if pleased that I’d finally grasped the meaning of life. She gave me armfuls of folded materials. There was an Islamic purple velvet hanging, edged with golden stitching and arranged in a pattern of teardrops; matching Bedouin horse-cloths, constructed out of navy blue and orange-coloured diamond shapes of fabric; brightly coloured Indian tapestry cloths: two square ones, and one in the shape of an arch. They shouted in bright yellows and blues and greens and pinks, with tiny mirrors stitched into them alongside little embroidered birds, stars, flowers, chakra wheels and Hindu swastikas. I decorated the van, clipping the cloths to the plywood lining with bulldog clips and larger, stronger, rubber-tipped market grips.

The van was completely transformed. Its contents came together into a nomadic aesthetic all of its own; ramshackle, yet somehow making happy sense as a whole. My gran and grandad – Mum’s parents – wandered over to see what I’d been doing. They seemed stunned, but in a good way: “Looks like an old vardo ,” Grandad said, using the Traveller word for caravan. Gran remarked that the way I had hung the cloths reminded her of the inside of the Travellers’ square tents back when she was a little girl. Their approval came as a relief. I slammed the doors and smiled as I thought of the road ahead.

Follow the long read on Twitter at @gdnlongread , or sign up to the long read weekly email here .

This is an edited extract from The Stopping Places by Damian Le Bas, published by Chatto & Windus on 7 June. To order a copy for £10.99, go to bookshop.theguardian.com or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over £10, online orders only. Phone orders min p&p of £1.99

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Six English words borrowed from the Romani language

The romani dialect and culture have been associated with central and northern india and they inherit a significant part of their linguistic heritage from sanskrit, writes peter lee, article bookmarked.

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Romani communities (whose flag is shown here) have been in the UK since the 15th century

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G ypsy, Roma and Traveller communities have been part of the UK’s regional populations for centuries. Roma communities are documented to have migrated to the UK during the early 15th century and evidence is found among a variety of official legal documentation and formal correspondence. As part of a wider community referred to as Gypsy Roma and Traveller, Roma have often faced hostility and inequality. It may be surprising then to hear that Romani, an unwritten language spoken by Roma communities is used in everyday English. Romani is a language spoken by communities who live largely across Europe.

The Romani language and culture have been associated with central and northern India and inherit a significant part of their linguistic heritage from Sanskrit alongside modern Indian languages such as Hindi, Urdu and Gujarati. In this sense, it is considered the only Indo Aryan-derived European language.

  • ‘Tickna mora o’beng’: Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight explains meaning of Ruby’s Romani premonition

While there are large communities of Romani speakers across Europe and beyond, only a small number of people in the UK speak a fully grammatical version. Within the UK, the majority of speakers use what is referred to as Anglo-Romani. This is a language unique to the Anglo-Roma of the UK and with a historical and linguistic connection to Romani culture. You may be surprised by some of the words that have been incorrectly labelled as colloquial or slang in English, which are in fact words that have crossed over from Anglo-Romani.

Here are six such words including their meaning found in regional dialects in England with their Romani historical links explained.

This is a word considered slang according to many online dictionaries. However, this is actually an Anglo-Romani word used for “money”. The word derives from the European Romani word “ vangar ” and is a word used for “coal”, having a clear and historical association of value. There are a number of variations used across Anglo-Romani speaking communities for money and these range from “ vonga ” to “ luvna ”.

The word “chav” has been popularised as a slur in English to mean a person whose behaviour shows a lack of education or someone having a lower-class status . But the meaning of “chav” or “chavvi” in Anglo-Romani simply means “boy” or “girl” or even just “child”. “chavo” for boy, “chavi” for girl and “chave” meaning children.

This is another word that was brought into mainstream use and is often associated with the comedy character Del Boy in the popular British sitcom Only Fools and Horses . The word “cushty”, sometimes spelled “kushti” in Anglo-Romani is used as an affirmative adjective and means “good” or “fantastic”. The meaning of cushty originates from an older Romani word “ kuč ”, meaning expensive. Its use in English is most likely linked to dialect mixing of Anglo-Roma communities and east London cockney speakers.

4. Chingering

According to the online source the urban dictionary, the word “ chingering ” means to caress another person’s chin in a sensual way. This is quite far removed from the meaning of the word chingering used amongst speakers of Anglo-Romani. This word is used to refer to quarrelling or to the act of insulting someone. The word again derives from the Romani words “ čhinger ” and “ čhingerel ” meaning to quarrel or shout.

This is perhaps the most well-used example of a Romani word found in everyday English, most typically meaning “friend” in English. This term actually originates from the Romani word “phral” meaning brother. The Anglo-Romani word pal is also used for brother and has been extended and again crossed over through dialect contact over the centuries into everyday English.

The English slang word “peeved” is sometimes used to refer to someone who has drunk too much alcohol and is again derived from a Romani word. The European Romani word “ pijav ” means “drink” and shows a direct connection with the English slang.

These are only a few examples and words such as “lollipop”, and “doylum” are also words from Anglo-Romani. There are many other words from Anglo-Romani that have been adopted into English, and most likely a regional dialect you know will have some fascinating examples.

Peter Lee is a lecturer in language and linguistics at Nottingham Trent University. This article first appeared on The Conversation .

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16 words you use everyday that actually come from the Romany Gypsy language

Words like 'lollipop', 'bar', 'chav' and 'wonga' are among them

  • 08:00, 26 JUL 2020

romany traveller words

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You may not realise it, but a number of pretty common words in the English language have actually originated from Romany Gypsies.

The Romany language, also known as Romani, is an unwritten language believed to have originated in Northern India, Cornwall Live reports , particularly from the Hindi, Sanskrit and Punjabi languages.

Very few people in the UK can speak the language, with only between 5 to 6 million in Europe and USA able to do so.

Nowadays, Roma people reside in Turkey, Spain and Romania, while in England they are commonly referred to as Gypsies.

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Many are scared to fully disclose their ethnicity, so a definitive number of Romany Gypsies in the UK is unknown, but it's expected to be in the thousands.

So it's no wonder that over the years common words and phrases used by travelling families in Britain have become a part of the English language, though some are often mistaken as slang or colloquialisms.

Here are some of the most commonly used words and phrases which have derived from Gypsy language, as well as the meanings behind them...

What we know as that delightful counter where you are served drinks, or the things that prevent you from leaving your prison cell, the word bar originally comes from the word ‘stone’ in Romany. But, it actually means a pound coin or a pound note when used.

An extremely popular term in the English language, the word chav is used to describe a lower-class youth - perhaps dressed in sportswear.

But the term actually comes from the Romany word ‘ chavi’,   meaning child.

Cosh, a word used in English to describe a type of weapon (a heavy stick or a bar), actually derived from the Romany word ‘cosht’ which means ‘stick’.

One of many catchphrases popularised by Derek 'Del Boy' Trotter in Only Fools and Horses, the term cushty actually comes from Romany word ‘kushitipen’ or ‘kushti’ and literally means ‘very good’.

Dick was a word commonly used to refer to a detective or private investigator in the 19th century. ‘To dick’ would literally mean ‘to watch’ and comes from the Romany word ‘dik,’ which means to look and to see.

This common word used to insult people or point out a lack of intelligence comes from the Romany term ‘divvy’ which means mad.

Another word used to describe policeman or policewoman that comes from the Romany Gypsy word ‘garav’ which means hide.

8. Gibberish

We use the word gibberish to describe someone talking nonsense, but it is believed to have derived from the Romani word ‘jib’, meaning tongue as well as language.

9. Lollipop

The name for this sweet tooth favourite among Brits actually comes from Romany ‘loli phabai’ which means red apple. It was first a Roma tradition to sell candied apples on a stick.

10. Mullered

Most often heard nowadays to describe someone as steaming drunk, the term Mullered actually comes from the Romany word ‘muller’ which means dead or killed.

The term used to describe a police informer comes from the Romany word  ‘nāk’ which means nose.

Probably the best known English expression to come from the Romany language is pal. The term used to describe friends comes from Romany word ‘phral’ which means brother.

Commonly used in the North of England to describe food, the word scran is believed to have derived from the Romany word ‘satan’ which means to eat.

What we know as a container that can be found on building sites actually comes from Romany word ‘skip’, meaning basket.

Used to refer to clothing – more commonly swimming gear – togs is a Romany word meaning clothes.

The word wonga – most famously used by the former payday loan provider of the same name – actually comes from the Romany word ‘vonga’ meaning coal as well as money.

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Look Closer

British Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Communities in Art

Discover the work of artist Delaine Le Bas and explore how travelling communities have been represented throughout British art history

Throughout a lot of history we've had to rely on the depictions and narratives of other people to show that we're here Lois Brookes-Jones

In this short film, artist Delaine Le Bas, writer Damian Le Bas and activist Lois Brookes-Jones respond to artworks in Tate’s collection that represent members of British Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.

Watch the group discuss the ways in which artists and photographers have approached the subject, whether through the anonymous landscape paintings of JMW Turner or the more sensitive portraits of Laura Knight and Chris Killip .

Delaine Le Bas also takes us into the heart of the West Sussex countryside, which inspired her new performance and installation Rinkeni Pani 2022. The title of the work is English Romani for ‘beautiful water’ and refers to both her great grandmother - who urged Le Bas never to waste precious water – as well as the increasing lack of access to water experienced by populations in the face of climate emergency.

A note on language

This film includes contributions from, and discussion of artworks featuring depictions of people who belong to ethnic British Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.

‘Gypsy, Roma and Traveller’ is an umbrella term that includes many different and distinct groups, including Irish Traveller, Roma and Romani Gypsy people who are all recognised as ethnic minority groups under the Race Equality Act 2010. In addition, this catchall term can include New Travellers, Showpeople and Boaters because they practice nomadism as a lifestyle choice. These communities are not recognised as ethnic minority groups.

Policymakers often use ‘GRT’ as shorthand, however, this can damage the visibility of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people when used out of context.

In some countries the term ‘Gypsy’ has been used widely as a racial slur and a derogatory or dehumanising word. However, there are Romani groups in Europe who have claimed this word and use it with pride. This includes many Romani individuals within the UK who proudly use the word ‘Gypsy’ to describe themselves. As with any identity signifiers, it’s always best to ask individuals how they identify and to use their preferred terminology.

Collection Artworks in this Film

Sketch of a bank, with gipsies, moira hand-picking in the very good fur coat, woman smiling, encampment at sunset, boo and his rabbit, epsom downs - city and suburban day, charlie, a little gipsy boy, alison, brian and claire on the beach, we recommend, radical landscapes.

Activism, trespass, and the climate emergency. Take a fresh look at the British Landscape and the art it inspires

Five Young Writers Respond to the Climate Emergency

The runners-up in the first Tate Etc. writing prize for Tate Collective members share their responses to artworks by Simryn Gill and Chris Killip

Walking in unquiet landscapes

Robert Macfarlane

Other traditions run through depictions of the British landscape, below and beyond romantic idealisations. Here, Robert Macfarlane traces a history in art of the decidedly strange and eerie face of landscape

IMAGES

  1. How To Learn Romanian Gypsy Language

    romany traveller words

  2. Travel words and phrases in Romanian

    romany traveller words

  3. 16 words you use everyday that actually come from the Romany Gypsy

    romany traveller words

  4. How To Speak Romanian Gypsy

    romany traveller words

  5. Romany Gypsy and Traveller heritage celebrated with blue plaque in

    romany traveller words

  6. Romany Gypsy Language

    romany traveller words

COMMENTS

  1. Glossary of Romani Terms

    Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month 2023; Gypsies and Travellers in Sussex; Irish Cant or De Gammon; Scottish Cant or Scots Romani; Romani dialects; News; Main Menu. Glossary of Romani Terms. These are the definitions of some of the Romani words used during the interviews.

  2. Six English words borrowed from the Romany language

    The word again derives from the Romany words " čhinger " and " čhingerel " meaning to quarrel or shout. 5. Pal. This is perhaps the most well-used example of a Romany word found in ...

  3. Romany-English Glossary

    Pliashka. Bottle of good brandy, wrapped in a kerchief with a string of gold pieces. Used in the marriage ritual between the couple's parents. 3.197. Pliashka (plochka) Engagement feast. 5. Pomana. Funeral feast.

  4. Words that you use everyday that came from the Romany Gypsy language

    These Romany words and terms have made their way into the fabric of the English language. ... 635 Gypsy, traveller and Irish traveller people were living in Cornwall.

  5. Gypsies, Roma, Travellers: An Animated History

    Many Roma, Gypsies, and Travellers are engaged in recycling and have been for centuries, long before major environmental concerns. We were also healers and herbalists for the "country people.". Mobility has, for many Roma, been part and parcel of identity. It's "not all wagons and horses," though, and Roma have been engaged with ...

  6. Romani people

    In Britain, many Romani proudly identify as "Gypsies", and, as part of the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller grouping, this is the name used to describe all para-Romani groups in official contexts. In North America, the word Gypsy is most commonly used as a reference to Romani ethnicity, though lifestyle and fashion are at times also referenced by ...

  7. Angloromani language

    Angloromani or Anglo-Romani (literally "English Romani"; also known as Angloromany, Rummaness, or Pogadi Chib) is a mixed language of Indo-European origin involving the presence of Romani vocabulary and syntax in the English used by descendants of Romanichal Travellers in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United States, and ...

  8. English words derived from Romani ("Gypsy Language")

    Muller - Means to beat, hurt or kill in English. Means to die in Romani. Jank - Means bad in English. It Means fecal matter in Romani. Parni - Means urine, from the Romani word meaning water. Corey - Means the male part, from the Romany word meaning the same thing. Radge - Means angry, enraged and/or crazy.

  9. Gypsy Roma and Traveller History

    The Irish Traveller community is categorised as an ethnic minority group under the Race Relations Act, 1976 (amended 2000); the Human Rights Act 1998; and the Equality Act 2010. Some Travellers of Irish heritage identify as Pavee or Minceir, which are words from the Irish Traveller language, Shelta. Romany Gypsies

  10. Scottish Romani and Traveller groups

    Scottish Romanis and Traveller groups are considered part of the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) community. ... The Lowland Gypsies speak a mixed language of Scots and Romani called Scottish Cant (also known as Scots-Romani or Scotch-Romani) which includes up to 50% words of Romani origin, mostly Angloromani origin words.

  11. Useful phrases in Romani

    Useful phrases in Romani. A collection of useful phrases in Romani, an Indo-Aryan language spoken in many parts of Europe. Jump to phrases. See these phrases in any combination of two languages in the Phrase Finder. If you can provide recordings, corrections or additional translations, please contact me.

  12. Romany Dictionary

    gypsy outside the romany tribes and of mixed blood. to look, see. mirror. mirror. a television set. scarf. to throw. silly, stupid, an idiot, a fool. ... tramp, traveller with-out any Romany blood ...

  13. PDF Friends, Families and Travellers

    Learn some common words and phrases in Romani, the language of Gypsy and Traveller communities, with this handy PDF guide. You can download and print the language ...

  14. 'I don't look like most people's idea of a Gypsy'

    The word gorjies comes from the old Romany word gadje or gadzhe, and though its form has mutated with time, its meaning is the same: the non-Gypsies, outsiders, the people-who-aren't-us.

  15. Six English words borrowed from the Romani language

    The word again derives from the Romani words " čhinger " and " čhingerel " meaning to quarrel or shout. 5. Pal. This is perhaps the most well-used example of a Romani word found in ...

  16. Roma

    Roma, an ethnic group of traditionally itinerant people who originated in northern India but live in modern times worldwide, principally in Europe.Most Roma speak some form of Romany, a language closely related to the modern Indo-European languages of northern India, as well as the major language of the country in which they live. It is generally agreed that Roma groups left India in repeated ...

  17. BBC

    Some Romany words have also moved in the opposite direction and are used locally by non Travellers, these include 'cushti' meaning 'good', chavvie when used by Gypsies means 'son' or 'child' but ...

  18. 16 words you use everyday that come from Romany Gypsy language

    7. Gavver. Another word used to describe policeman or policewoman that comes from the Romany Gypsy word 'garav' which means hide. 8. Gibberish. We use the word gibberish to describe someone ...

  19. Romanichal

    Romanichals (UK: / ˈ r ɒ m ə n ɪ tʃ æ l / US: /-n i-/; more commonly known as English Gypsies) are a Romani subgroup within the United Kingdom and other parts of the English-speaking world. Most Romanichal speak Angloromani, a mixed language that blends Romani vocabulary with English syntax. Romanichals resident in England, Scotland, and Wales are part of the Gypsy, Roma, and Traveller ...

  20. British Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Communities in Art

    'Gypsy, Roma and Traveller' is an umbrella term that includes many different and distinct groups, including Irish Traveller, Roma and Romani Gypsy people who are all recognised as ethnic minority groups under the Race Equality Act 2010. In addition, this catchall term can include New Travellers, Showpeople and Boaters because they practice ...

  21. Romany traveller (5) Crossword Clue

    Here is the solution for the Romany traveller (5) clue that appeared on March 4, 2024. We have found 40 answers for this clue in our database. The best answer we found was GYPSY, which has a length of 5 letters. We frequently update this page to help you solve all your favorite puzzles, like NYT , LA Times , Universal , Sun Two Speed, and more.