dictionaryA CAMPAIGN to remove the Spanish dictionary definition of gypsies as ‘swindlers’ has been launched by Roma groups.

With complaints lodged at Spain’s Royal Language Academy, the Gypsy Secretariat Foundation is trailblazing the campaign against this pejorative view of gitanos.

Ever since Spain’s most authoritative dictionary defined ‘gypsy’ as ‘one who lies and cheats’ (trapacero) in its 23rd edition, launched in November 2014, gypsy communities have been in uproar.

Ironically, the definition was a failed attempt to make good the previous definition, which connected gitanos with fraud and deception.

The academy has defended itself saying the definition reflects actual use and is not intended to be derogatory.

A considerable 750,000 – that’s 1.6% – of Spain’s 47 million residents are of gypsy heritage.


  1. Dictionaries are supposed to record how the language is used not to comment on how it should be used. I have Welsh ancestors but I dont object to welching or welshing on a deal being included in English dictionaries.
    If you are just claiming that a very large number of the Spanish have derogatory racist views about gypsies: They do.

  2. As long as a dictionary makes it clear that pejorative terms concerning race/nationalities are slang, then it is doing it’s job. but if it gives those terms as bona fide definitions, then that should be corrected.

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