Names of the Romani People

December 24, 2007
Alin Dosoftei

The ethnic names used by the contemporary branches of the Romani people are Rom/Chhavo, Kalo, Manush, Sinto. The common roots of all these branches are proved by the similarities of their culture and language. The fact that groups using one of these names live in remote geographical areas and employ in subsidiary also some of the other names indicates that initially the ancestors used concomitantly all these ethnic names, they did not employ an unique denomination. This situation lasted during the crystallization of the Romani ethnic group along the 12th century and probably some other centuries onwards. Then, after emigrating in all Europe and parts of Middle East, every local group began to use only one of the names as the main one, the others remaining secondary.

Rom is the singular masculine grammatical gender (the plural is Roma, but there are dialects that use Rom also for plural), while Romni is the singular feminine (Romnya is the plural). They mean “married man, husband”, respectively “married woman, wife”. The unmarried are named Chhavo (boy) / Chhey (girl) / Chhave (plural common for both genders). The proper way to address a heterogeneous group is Romale thay Chhavale! ("Roma and Chhave!"). This internal separation between married and unmarried is employed because in the Romani culture the marriage is the most important event in life. This view extends also to the name given for the non-Roma: Gaj/o, -i, -e for married ones and Rakl/o, -i, -e for the unmarried (some groups employ also for the others words like Goro/Gero, Das, Payo).

Many groups choose also this word for self-identification among the non-Romani populations. They use the word to designate the culture and its elements (like the language). Also in Hungarian-speaking areas of the Carpathian Basin a group has the name Romungre ("Hungarian Roma"), while those from the Great Britain name themselves Romnichal (with the first probable meaning of "Romano son").

In English, the adjective Romani is employed in contexts like “Romani language”, “Romani custom”. Usually it stands for all the declension in the original language: Roman/o, -i, -e, but sometimes they appear utilizations of the original declension in the Romani language. There is also the spelling Romany but the first one is preferred since it is the way the other Indo-Aryan languages are spelled: Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Kashmiri etc. The Romani dialects are spelled also like this: Lovari, Jambashi, Erli, etc. and even the dialects of other languages spoken by Roma (with only Romani vocabulary) like Pogadi. The word Romanes, which sometimes appears in English, is the adverb, meaning “in the Romani way, manner”.

In some groups the sound "r" from Rom is pronounced stressed and it is sometimes written Rrom. This spelling tends to be employed more in Romania, with the scope of not being confused with the prevailing Latin population, the Romanians. This resemblance of the ethnic names sometimes leads to confusion, but they don’t have a common etymology. Romanian comes from Romanus (“citizen of Rome” in Latin), as they are the descendants of the settlers from the Italian city of Rome, mixed with the local population. The same is for the Swiss speakers of Romansh, also originally from Rome. After the emergence of democracy in Romania in 1990 and the end of the state policy of assimilation, it became possible also in this country to be used in public the ethnic name Rom. The subsequent reaction of an important part of the Romanian majority was to deny the historical existence of such an ethnic name, supporting the idea that it was inspired from their own ethnic name, Romanian, that both ethnic names have a single origin. However, in this case it should be reminded that, while all the Romanians are in a close relation with the Roma, on the other side, only a part of the Roma are in close relations with the Romanians. Many Roma, neither they nor their ancestors, never set foot on the territory inhabited by Romanians. The Romanians are a particular case from a Romani point of view and not otherwise. Following the logic of those who support a single origin for Romani and Romanian, one draws the conclusion that Romanian has Sanskrit origin (keeping in mind that this name was first recorded some centuries after the arrival of the Roma in contemporary Romania, with the meaning of “common people”).Moreover, until the 19th century, the endonym of the Romanian people was Rumîni. Români is a modern nationalist creation of the Romanian elite, to look more similar to the name of the Italian capital, Rome (Roma in Latin), in order to emphasize their Latin identity. This name, incidentally, came also closer to the name of the Romani people. They should be open minded and accept the different origin of these two ethnic names.

Those settled in the contemporary territory of France name themselves Manush, meaning “person, human being”. Those who arrived in Iberian Peninsula in the 15th century use to identify themselves as Kale (meaning “blacks”). The group from Northern Wales is named also Kale. The same self-denomination is employed also in Finland by another group and usually appears written with Finnish orthography: Kaale. The group that settled in the German-speaking areas has the name Sinti, probably a word of European origin, adopted by the end of the 18th century (the previous names recorded for this area were Kale and Manush).

These names have basic, fundamental social meanings, probably as the result of the circumstances of the Romani people's ethnogenesis in the 12th century. They express the consciousness of the basic South Asian identity as revealed while living among non-South Asians, the same as the name Desi, of the new South Asian diaspora emerging from the emigrations of the last two centuries. These names reflect also somehow the conditions of the two emigrations. While the word Desi indicates the continuity of the connections with the motherland and an ambiguity of the assertion of the South Asian identity in diaspora, the Romani names express a regrouping around the basic tenets of the South Asian identity and the desire to continue it (probably also because they considered themselves as the only survivors), in the context of the 11th century violence against the Northern Indian society.

The Romani people received a variety of names in the local languages of the areas they settled. Usually the etymology of these denominations expresses the first impressions the newly arrived made on the local people. In many languages the word naming them is a corruption of Egyptian, like the English Gypsy, Spanish Gitano, Greek Yieftos or French Gitan. It seems that they were mistaken for Egyptians because they arrived in Europe through an area named “Little Egypt” (in Southern Balkans) or maybe because they fit the local imagery of Egyptians as exotic dark-skinned people performing witchcraft (since the times of the Roman Empire, Egypt was in Europe the symbol of exoticism par excellence). Another series of local names comes from the Greek word athinganoi (intangible): Ţigan (Romanian), Çingene (Turkish), Cigány (Hungarian), Zigeuner (German), Zingaro (Italian), Cigano (Portuguese). This naming could be due to a perceived resemblance to a heretic contemporary Christian sect performing witchcraft, or, other opinion, simply because Roma didn’t like to be touched by Gaje. Other names like Heiden ("Heathens") in Dutch or Tattare ("Tatar") in Swedish give also hints about the beginning of some strenuous interethnic relations. The common denominator of these names is that the image expressed by them strays from the reality, creating parallel notions used only by non-Roma. In many cases, these names designate also non-Romani persons who are perceived as fitting this image.

Why for some decades persons belonging to the Romani people are striving for the replacement in the public use of the word Gypsy (and the other localized names) with Romani? First of all this is not something isolate, it is a contemporary phenomenon that some ethnic groups reject the foreign ethnic names (exonyms) and promote the ethnic name used by themselves (the endonym). Usually it is a matter of image in the contemporary context of the global society's organization according to the ideology of nationalism. These people are minorities in every state they live (in most cases they are scattered in more states) and for various reasons (like geographical isolation or cultural differences) the nationalism did not became popular among them. Thus they tend to have a low participation in the administration, a low influence in the centers of power of those states and in the selection of the notions and ideologies conveyed among the broad society. As a consequence they do not participate in the construction of the ethnic images that circulate in the society and thus the ethnic images about themselves stray from the reality; lacking the communication, they are attachments to the self image of the majority. The names these people are known by the majority are perceived as full-part of the alien images and their etymologies remind the status of strange, awkward people, like Eskimo (from " raw meat eater" in Algonquin), Lapp ("wild", “backward” in Scandinavian languages), Berber (from "barbarian" in Latin), Hottentot (from "stutterer" in Afrikaans), also these many names the Roma are known in the countries they live. There is a common contemporary attitude (without any direct connection between these people) to reject the foreign names and to employ instead, at the state level if possible, their own names which always mean "man", "human being": Inuit, Saami, Amazigh, Khoi, Romani.

A sovereign entity is seldom attempting to uphold the use of its native name among the rest of the world. Such a rare case occurred in 1935, when the ruler of then named Persia, Reza Shah Pahlavi, decided that the foreigners should name his country as Iran, the native name, not Persia, the way it was known abroad. Usually, people living in countries of their own, with their own public life, even if they are named with other words by the foreigners, tend not to be bothered by them. They are not affected by the inherent stereotypes to a level that would trigger the promotion of the self-denominations, because they don’t live in the same “household” with the rest of the World, they don’t share their daily life with the others. At most, some local problems with the neighbors.

As a conclusion, this assertion of the endonym is a product of the modernity, employed by some ethnic groups who become vulnerable, for various reasons, to the ideology of nationalism. In history, the responses of such ethnic groups varied according to the evolution of the identity ideologies employed by the broad society. For example, in the case of the population known in English as Jews, in the first part of their history, they were known by two names: Israelites and Hebrews. The former name appears to be an endonym, while the latter an exonym. The use of the word Hebrew by the non-Jews of those times (written in their languages as Habiru/Apiru) indicates the circulation among them of a caricatured and malevolent image about the Jews. They are described as thieves, outlaws, inferior to the non-Jews. The same as in the case of the Gypsy word, Habiru designated also non-Jewish persons, but who probably were perceived as fitting in that specific image. In Torah, the name Hebrew appears when Jews communicate with non-Jews or when the author wants to make a distinction between the Jews who support the Jewish side and those who support the non-Jewish side. The name Israelite appears in the other contexts, regarding the life in the community (2). However, since there was no conscious separation between the specific items of the ethnic groups, like in the modern nationalism, it did not appear the need to assert the endonym among the non-Jews.

Later, the malevolent nature of the word Hebrew lessened, because the non-Jewish populations who used it with that specific meaning disappeared from history. In the meantime, it appeared also a third name, Judaeean (which produced in modern English the word Jew), from the name of Judaeea, the geographical area of the surviving two Jewish tribes from the initial twelve. As the ideology of nationalism began to spread in the society, the Jewish population preferred to use the name Israelite in the relations with the non-Jews. This name being appropriated by the new state of Israel, in 1947, the Jews who remained citizens of other countries switched to one of the words Jew or Hebrew in the local languages, depending on which expressed better the Jewish identity.

Regarding the modern public use of the Romani endonyms, until now it focused mostly on the word Rom/Romani. It gained some acceptance also among the branches that use it only with the meaning of a married person or as an adjective. The Sinti, who are not especially different among the Romani groups (3), were encouraged by the German and Austrian authorities to stick to their name and to consider them a different ethnic group. The reason is that, after most of them were killed during the Holocaust, few live in this countries and it is easier to label the other newly arrived Roma as foreigners, as opposed to the local Sinti, who live there for centuries. This is presented as a reason for the speedy expulsions of the Roma that are immigrating, especially since the Communism collapsed in Eastern Europe in 1990 (already dozen of thousands were expulsed) (4). This led to the appearance of the awkward term “Roma and Sinti” when it is about the Romani people, with statements like “Romani language is the language spoken by Roma and Sinti”.

To solve this issue that could bring undesired separations, it appeared the idea to use the adjective Romani as the common denominator for all the branches and castes. Some use the word Rom only with the first meaning of “husband”, but the adjective Romani is employed by all the groups to describe themselves in contexts like “Romani language”, “Romani culture” or “Romani person”. It is promoted by some Romani personalities, like the scholar Ian Hancock (5). The word should be used as a noun, singular: Romani, plural: Romanies. It gained some acceptance also in the Spanish language: romaní (singular), romaníes (plural).


(1) Matras, Yaron, 1999, Johann Rüdiger and the study of Romani in 18th century Germany. Journal of the Gypsy Lore Society, fifth series 9, 89-116 (here in PDF)

(2) http://www.geocities.com/genesiscommentary/hebrews.html

(3) They use the word Romani as an adjective. Also it is notable that a Romani group living in contemporary Poland (that includes territories which until the end of the Secod World War were German-speaking), having similarities of dialect with them, are named Polska Roma.

(4) Cahn, Claude, 1996, Divide and deport (Roma & Sinti in Austria), European Roma Rights Center, (here in PDF)

(5) Hancock, Ian, 2001, Ame sam e rromane džene / We are the Romani People, The Open Society Institute, New York



Alin Dosoftei is a Romani writer, currently working on a presentation of the Romani people and on some ideas about a public modern Romani identity.
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December 24, 2007
04:44 AM

cut the crap gypsy, the name "rom" "romani" doesn't appear in history untill 1971 ..in 1971 was the first time you took this name.

The name is tooken from romioi from Bizantine Empire, you [EDITED]

If you want to be able to live in Romania in the future change this name or [EDITED - THREAT].

Ruvy in Jerusalem
December 24, 2007
05:43 AM

Well, Alin, it looks as if the spirit of the Romanian Nazis lives on in Adrian.

I would point out, however, that the word Romani, used in reference your own people originally from India, does sound and look an awful lot like the word "Romanian". And, as I needn't point out, Romanians don't like your ethnic group at all.

The little bit of sympathy my people got for having been murdered off in WWII was not extended at all to yours. It is so bad that Jews refuse to even recognize you on their myriads of holocaust councils or in the museums that feed the egos of rich American Jews with too much money to drop, and no sense as what to do with it.

But that is a different issue entirely.

All in all, I found this to be an excellent article.

I would note these points though. In the Hebrew language, Hebrew is and always was 'ivrí (as in Avrahám ha'Ivrí - Abraham the Hebrew) or ivrít, the name of the language. The word refers to one who has crossed over or passed over, coming from the Semitic root 'avár, using the letters ayin, bet, resh, which refers to passing beyond or moving or crossing.

From the days of Abraham, we have been known as 'ivri'ím Hebrews. The word Yehudá was the name of the fourth son of Yisraél. Strictly speaking, Jews are those people who are the descendants of four sons of Yisraél - Yehudá, Shim'ón, Benyamín and Leví. The remaining descendants of Yisraél are generally known as Efráyim, although members of the Tribe of Reuvén have come home to Israel and are generally recognized as Jews.

In many European languages (like Spanish and Russian), the word "Jew" is a curse word, and is replaced with "Hebrew".

I wish you success with your endeavors, and if the Kossover-Gallin Writers Group of Israel can be of any service, contact me privately at the e-mail address found at the blog-site referenced above.

December 24, 2007
06:00 AM

for @Ruvy in Jerusalem

i'm not nazi I have gypsy and jew friends. The thing is this is a big lie, they took this name in purpuse to be confused with romanians. First they say the name is "rom" now the transformed it in "romani" to be even more simmilar to romanian. What difference can you make between romanian and romani,..you tell me RUVY !!!!

Every country and people have the right to their own identity we don't have no one but we want our own identity not someone elses . IT'S TOO MUCH WHAT WE ASK ????

December 24, 2007
06:05 AM

there are thousands of name they can take if they don't want gypsy or tsigans... why they took this name?

December 24, 2007
06:28 AM

Incidentally, I challenge the Romani = Romania connection. In India too, with no geographical connection to the country of Romania, we call gypsies Romany, care to explain that? There's another word in Urdu called 'roomani', can't remember what it means

Ruvy in Jerusalem
December 24, 2007
06:34 AM


If you are so damned respectful of all these people, then you must have figured out that they do not like being called "Gypsy", and do not deserve nasty threats or curses.

Take the trouble to re-read the article again for your answer.

December 24, 2007
06:37 AM

Efforts have been made over the past three decades to assert and push through a new "political correctness" by renaming "Gypsies", "Tsiganes", "Cigani", "Zigeuner", "Çingeneler" and so forth as "Roma" ("Romanies").
To make it clear at the very beginning: I belong to those, who think it more appropriate to keep the specific (outsider) terms of the majority populations for Gypsies, as they have been used for centuries.

The main points put forward when asking outsiders to use the designation "Roma" can be summarized as follows:
1. Reference is generally made to the First Romani World Congress in London in 1971 and its decision that from then on all the Gypsies of the world should be called "Roma".
2. It is obviously perceived as a kind of "natural right", that the specific term used by the group itself is postulated to be the only valid one.
3. Nearly all the foreign names for Gypsies are said to be pejorative, discriminating and tainted with prejudice.
4. Sometimes it is argued that the term "Roma" has already become so colloquial, that persons who do not behave according to what is thought to be politically correct, are labelled at least as backward, if not as racist (or in Germany as Nazi).
6. When confronted with the fact that many Gypsies themselves use the terms attached to them by their neighbours, it is put forward that it would be different when Gypsies themselves use these, from when outsiders do so.

Let's now discuss these arguments one by one.

1. At the First Romani World Congress in 1971 only about two dozen "delegates", apart from a few observers, are said to have taken the far-reaching decision for several millions of Gypsies worldwide, that they should thenceforth present themselves as "Roma". Even when we take later Romani World Congresses with more participants into consideration, the legitimacy for such far-reaching decisions is rather weak.
Nearly all Gypsy groups, to my knowledge, lack a sense of larger trans-tribal units experienced in common, and solidarity beyond clans, tribes, local or regional units is largely absent. Although several organizations for Gypsies in different countries - which, by the way, often incorporate foreign terms in their names - have been founded during recent decades, they are not deeply rooted in the communities concerned. Trans-national or even world organizations enjoy even less support from local and regional groups. Rivalry between different persons or groups is still widespread.

2. There are many Gypsy groups (especially Oriental ones) who have never heard of the term "Roma" and many more who have their own different designations (like Lom or Dom in Turkey). There is no legitimacy or justification in attaching a "Roma" label to them. Besides, this would contradict attaching the recognition of insider names that is supposedly aimed at.
By the way, the "original" term for Gypsies seems to be "Dom", rather than "Rom".
Of course, a problem arises when one really speaks about Roma "proper" and not about Gypsies in general. Therefore one would always have to explain whether one is using the term "Roma" in a broader or narrower sense.

December 24, 2007
06:39 AM

3. Gypsies have had a negative image for centuries, regardless what they were called. Combatting discrimination cannot be done by just attaching a different label. Prejudices are then very likely to be transfered to the new name.

Alongside with negative associations when thinking about Gypsies, there were also positive, often romantic, associations connected with them. "Gypsy music" is generally highly esteemed and newspapers, which otherwise use the "political correct" term for Gypsies, still write about "Gypsy music" (Zigeunermusik), since it has already become a well-recognised label. In Germany several societies (generally connected with the carnival) have named themselves "Zigeuner"; they would certainly not have done so if the term had only a negative connotation.

Not only is nothing (positive) gained by renaming, but the moral pressure connected with this provides yet a further reason for rejecting Gypsies. The establishment of taboos often provokes counter- reactions.

December 24, 2007
06:41 AM

@ for Ruvy in Jerusalem

If they don't kike to be called gypsies they can take whatever name they want as long it doesn't belong to other nation or population.

do you find fair my answer?

December 24, 2007
06:52 AM

I would like to finish my contribution with a quotation from a collection of essays by the German-Romanian writer Herta Müller („Der Staub ist blind - die Sonne ein Krüppel. Zur Situation der Zigeuner in Rumänien", in: „Hunger und Seide" (Reinbek bei Hamburg 1997, p.153, my own translation): „I went to Romania with the word „Roma", used it at the beginning during conversations and encountered a lack of understanding everywhere. 'The word is hypocritical', I was told, 'we are Gypsies, and the word is good, as far as we are treated well.'"

Alin Dosoftei
December 24, 2007
07:11 AM

It seems that the responses to my on-line publications fall in two categories: those where they appear Rumanian users and those where they do not appear. When they appear, one may see their impolite and violent behavior, their unwillingness to discuss any matter, their disrespect for any logic.

I made clear that the logic of a single origin for these names means that Romanian would have a Sanskrit origin the same a Rom and not otherwise. Rom exist in Romani from the very beginning, it is a basic word found in every dialect, including of those who never set foot in Romania. The Rumanians took the name Români in the 19th century, they were Rumîni previously. All the other names derived from Rum, the original name of the Byzantine Empire, have u, not o, including all the branches of the Rumanians: Rumîni,Arumâni,Rumâri, Rămâni. See


unless they will not delete this info from there (but you may see in the page history the variant at 24 Dec 2007)

Also any other name derived from Rum: Rumelia (the historical central part of the Balkan Peninsula), Rum province in Central Anatolia (as a continuation of the Rum Sultanate), the Urums (Turkish-speaking Greeks).

This while Rom is our name for centuries and it is our right to use it.

I wonder if any sane Romanian can come here and try to clear the shame produced by these dangerous people and make clear to the rest of the World that Romanian does not mean only violence, disdain, lack of logic.

December 24, 2007
07:22 AM

you filthy lier, this term is new, the first time it appears in 1971 at first gypsy congress in london...untill few years ago the gypsies dindn't even heard about this term.

you stole this term and lie like a drunken sailor to justify the use of this term

Why are no evidences that you used this term, why it doesn't appear in history ????

why this term began to be officialised from Romania when few gypsy organisations yelled they want their name to be changed !!!!

Do you think you can fools us you liers????

December 24, 2007
07:23 AM

a gypsy accusing a romanian for violence hahaha you make me lough

December 24, 2007
07:29 AM

for centuries LOOOOOOOL the first time this term appeared in 1971....what centuries you lier?

December 24, 2007
07:34 AM

instead of be thankfull to Romania and Romanians that they welcomed many of you in our country that we gave you something to eat and you're not treated like in Italy for example you stabb us in the back .

shame on you, if you have a drop of honour and onesty you would recognise this is an invented term and that you don't have any connection with it.

If you persist in having this name this would only sustain a tense atmopshere between gypsies from Romania and Romanians. If you care about this and your intentions are not hidden you would change this term to any other that you like as long it doesn't confuse with other nation or people.

do you ask for tolleration but you lie, you deceive and create false history in order to fool people... HAVEN'T YOU PEOPLE GOT ANY SHAME ???? THIS IS WHY YOUR REPUTATION IS THIS BAD, BECAUSE OF YOUR BEHAVIOUR NOT BECAUSE OF THE NAME "GYPSY" . YOU MADE THIS TERM TO BE PEIORATIVE NOT SOMEONE ELSE !!!!

December 24, 2007
07:37 AM

adrian... you need to cool your jets... the things you are saying are debatable and on top of that are just a bunch of rants.

if you have something to say beyond personal attacks and vitriol, share it. otherwise please be quiet.

romania has quite a past. shall I remind you of the atrocities of ceausescu or do you not need to be reminded.

just because something sounds the same doesn't make it the same. shall all the fowl in the world get angry and rail against Turkey for stealing their name? Or is it the other way round.. the nation should exterminate the bird?

Chill out.

December 24, 2007
07:45 AM


what Ceausescu has to do with this? He never did any atrocities by the way, he never killed a person.

What about Stalin, Lenin, Hitler, Horthy etc? Are romanians guilty because Ceausescu was a communist?
You don't know the history of my country my friend, you don't know this things better then me trust me.

and you make an imbecile comparation, this is about 2 different type peoples being confused not a country name with a bird's name. Each nation people have the right of their own identity, we don't like to be confused with any other nation not just gypsies.

This is not about exterminate gypsies you are trying to make me looking ridiculous, you have some nice manipulation skills .

This is about only to change this name into another one, whatever they like, but not a name that already designates a country or a people !

December 24, 2007
07:59 AM

adrian.... now I know you have lost touch with reality. ceausescu was shot dead for crimes including genocide. he is not guilty because he was a communist, he is guilty because he was a mass-mudering fiend.

don;t worry, no one confuses you with anyone else.

(giggles to self)

Alin Dosoftei
December 24, 2007
08:13 AM

If some people wonder what is like to be a Rom in Romania, here you have a clear example. This is supposed to be the Europe with the best human rights record in the World. In Romania at least, they live is such a denial, they do not recognize the previous violent assimilation policy of Ceausescu, they continue to use his methods that deny basic rights for an entire people just for the sake of their imagination.

Right now I found this source attesting Romany in 1812, certainly earlier that the public change of name from Rumîni to Români.


I asked other people who may be better informed and hopefully there may appear even older sources.

December 24, 2007
08:15 AM

he was accused of genocide yes but he didn't had a fair trial . We was accused of things he dind't do convicted to death and executed in the same day, he dind't even had a lawyer or was allowed to defend himself.

I'm not saying we has good person, he was a low life communist but the accusations for him are not real.

and now back on topic.

many people confuse us with gypsies because of the name, don't tell me they don't .

Because of this simmilarity of the name they are confussed with romanians and because of their high criminality rate they creeate also a peiorative image to the romanians .

They made themselves a paiorative term from "gypsy" because of their own behavior not someone else's this is the truth....

Soon also this name will become peiorative but also the romanians will have to suffer because of this.

December 24, 2007
08:22 AM

the most earlier evidence of the name romanians for romanian people are from 16 century more exactly 1521


that link is a total bullshit and lie, maybe your incluencial gypsies like Hannock or hungarians like George Soros has to do with this.

You can fool me, but you can't fool the truth, the reality and the history...give up and recognise this is an invented name.

Take "dom" or "gitan" or "sinti" etc....

by the way are all gypsies from "Rom" tribe?

why aren't you called sinti for example ?

Alin Dosoftei
December 24, 2007
08:49 AM

Partly the background of explosion of uncivilized Romanian behavior, is the fact that the Italians found the weak spot of the Romanians, their Gypsy fear, and now they exploit it to keep under control about a million Romanian citizens of all ethnicities who emigrated in Italy. Most of the people toil like slaves in the black market, some do illegalities, again of all ethnicities. The Italian press started this year a campaign of highlighting any illegal thing, in this manner hiding the appalling working conditions of the Romanian citizens. Most of the cases belong to ethnic Romanians, see for example:



The Romanians did not dare to refute these stereotypes, they waited until there appeared also a Rom accused of illegalities, in November. Then they started to unload all their anger on Roma, with their usual ostrich attitude. Partly this is the fresh background of such violence from people who do not know to support their rights, know to be tough only with politically weak people. This is something usual in Romania, there is even a saying in Romanian, a arunca moartea-n ţigani ("throwing the death among Gypsies"), used to describe a situation when somebody blames innocent person(s) for personal mishaps. See the official dictionary of the Romanian language:


Even now there are on TV a group of seven ethnic Romanians with criminal records, protesting in front of the Romanian consulate and requesting that their trial be started in Romania, where certainly they will receive smaller penalties.

As for Neacsu's letter, it only attest what I say from the very beginning, for centuries they were named Rumanians. One may wonder, did they take Romanian to impersonate the Roma?

December 24, 2007
08:53 AM

hom come that hungarians (romanians fiercest enemies) in colaboration with gypsies invented this name...

isn't something fishy around here?

You guys would have so much to earn from romanian people if you would change this name, romanians will look to you with alot more respect thinking you are honest persons and you don't have hidden plans or want to be confussed with romanian people.

You would only gain respect from romanian people if you would change this name. Think about this.

December 24, 2007
09:00 AM

so you're from romanian you filthy lier... I figured out by your name.

Do you make romanian people racists, then how are the italian people you imbecile, they started a campaing against whole romanian people because of what gypsies did in Italy. They gypsies in italy beg, steal, commit crimes, live in filth, kill like they did yo Giovanna and this are cases happening at every step .

Don't you dare to put your crimes and illegalities in romanians back you filthy lier.

This is what I meant guys, this is the real purpuse of this name, to throw their illegalities on romanians back.

You just got yourself unveiled filthy lier.

and when we had the name Rumanians or romanians we didn't steal it from others, because this term wasn't used by some other living population

December 24, 2007
09:02 AM

and we had this term because this is what we are...romanised popolation, we didn't steal it like you did, you filthy filthy lier !!

December 24, 2007
09:23 AM

adrian... please do us all a favor and get spellcheck and a dictionary.

alin... I do understand the plight of the Romani, and it makes me sad. I will say one thing, however, as an Italian. The people who are there, and it is not often clear what group they belong to because there are a number of migrant groups in Italy which include Romani, Serbs, Croats, and many others from North Africa, etc. But there are a number of migrant groups which, while unfortunately marginalized, create havoc on the streets.

My family in Rome cannot keep pets outside as the dog runs have been cut 3 times and the dogs eaten as food. This is truly sad and something should be done for these people. No one should be left to starve on the streets.

However, I have also been attacked by groups of street kids and women, and it was very unpleasant. It happens to me every time I am home... not just as an isolated incident. It is a serious problem in many parts of Rome and Florence.

December 24, 2007
09:26 AM


thank you for confirming my statements

are they gypsies or romanians?

Alin Dosoftei
December 24, 2007
09:46 AM


First of all the majority of the newly arrived immigrants are hard working people who toil and destroy their health for the Italian economy. Probably you know already of the articles of Fabrizio Gatti:


Yes, there are some who do illegalities, again of all ethnic group (at least from Romania, there are more Romanians with criminal record than Roma). One may keep a balance between the contribution of the immigrants to the development of the Italian economy and the additional problems they bring. They have to consider the frustrations of the immigrants, many times cheated by the employers (who are not accountable because it's black market, no one can prove he/she worked).

Personally, I see that the Italian state has also an ostrich attitude, there is no serious involvement in the regularization of the immigrants status, many Italian politicians rather inflame the spirits by presenting and supporting stereotypes. Now I see they tend to back off from the initial expulsion decree after they were reprimanded by the European Commission. Hopefully, they would begin some real steps in the direction of socialization and the integration of the immigrants. This I think will help also the Italian citizens to feel safe again. Again, I want to emphasize, because I know well these people, of any ethnicity they would be, there is much frustration even among those who work hard. Many turn to crime after working in appalling conditions.

December 24, 2007
09:46 AM

adrian, don't be confused.. I am NOT NOT NOT confirming your statements. you are hate-filled and more than a little delusional. I was simply stating that there is a problem in Italy with migrant populations, and I am not at all sure who they are.

The word gypsy is derogatory and I will not use it. Some are Romani, some are Romanian, some are North African, etc.

December 24, 2007
09:50 AM

yes you did...too late to back off.

Romanian people don't beg in the streets, don't steal wallets and live in tents .

If you don't kike gypsies we can call them "zingari" is this more fammiliar to you?

the term "romani" is an invention. end of story

December 24, 2007
09:53 AM

it's your press who created this hatred against all romanians, don't be hypocrite and pose in "virgin Mary"

Romanians must pay for their actions and "zingari" for their actions, not viceversa.

December 24, 2007
11:06 AM

adrian... done talking to you, it's like talking to a hyperactive teen who hates everything.

ciao and good luck with that anger management problem!

December 24, 2007
11:14 AM

I would like see you having the same attitude if they would change their name into "italiani"

December 26, 2007
12:07 PM


Do you have an proof or evidence that the gypsies were not called "Roma or Romani" before 1971?

If yes, please post the links.

See, Egyptians are not crying when English called the guys "Gypsies".

If Gypsies are trying to steal the name and want to lay a claim of Rumania, I accept that it is a serious threat to you guys and your identity. So, create websites and campaign against it, if you feel truth is on yourside.

December 26, 2007
01:21 PM

yes my friend I have plenty of evidences. Do you think I would be so angry if I didn't knew the truth?

The term "rom" has no connection to gypsy language. The original term is "dom" and it was taken from prakrit into the gypsy language and then transformed into "rom" to justify the presence of the "rom" etnonim.

How come they decided to impose this new etnonim at the First "Romani" World Congress in 1971 only when about two dozen "delegates", link, read at the bottom of the page apart from a few observers, are said to have taken the far-reaching decision for several millions of Gypsies worldwide, that they should thenceforth present themselves as "Roma"

http://www.rbenninghaus.de/zigeuner-begriff.htm read at the bottom of the page

the romanian-gypsy linguist Delia Grigore recognises the term "rom" comes from prakrit language "dom".


She explains "The most well documented theory is that the term "rom" comes from prakrit "dom" which means man and was reffering to the indian immigrants coming from varius ethnic groups which mixed in Persia then aheading Europe. "

How come this term began to be officialised after 1990 FROM ROMANIA, and immediately after the fall of Ceausescu... why not earlier? where they afraid of something? . The program who aimed to change the official name for gypsies was sponsored by Soros fundation. George Soros is a wealthy multi-bilionare american-hungarian speculator being awarded by the Times Magazine in top 25 Most Influential Americans .

Isn't this too much of a coincidence?

if some of the gypsies designate themselves with this term it has no connection to gyspy langauge or gypsy roots. Proof to what i'm saying. : As a people (or, more accurately, a collection of disparate groups) originating in India's Gujarat, gypsies were the camp followers of Mongol invaders of Eastern Europe in the 13th century. Once within the Byzantine Empire, they adapted the Byzantine self-defining term of Romaioi ("Romans" in Greek), given Byzantium's claim to be the direct successor of the (Eastern) Roman Empire. Hence today's historically absurd self-definition as "Roma".


quoting from Wikipedia : There are no historical proofs to clarify the etymology of the term rom for gypsies.

I can give you more proofs if you want. The LIES MUST STOP HERE !!!!!

December 26, 2007
02:04 PM


am on the fringe here...by that i mean i couldn't care less if they call themselves romas or domas...it is their choice...

you wrote: the name "rom" "romani" doesn't appear in history until 1971...in 1971 was the first time you took this name.

it was the same year people took another name for themselves bangladeshis and they are known as such today

i fail to see the reason behind so much vituperation from you...(shrug)

December 26, 2007
02:17 PM

Bangladeshis are the habitants of Bangladesh country. They became independent in 1971.

Bangladeshis is not a copy of other nation's name or ethnicity.

Are you stupid? did you read what I said untill now ?

We don't care how gypsies are calling to themselves as long as they don't try to impose the term with force and as long the termn it doesn't belong or isn't similar to another and distinct nation or population.

December 26, 2007
02:30 PM

who is "we"

and what do "we" mean by "imposing"


and please, wipe that froth from the corners:)

and while not entirely scientific, there is a way to judge a person's IQ from their posts;)

Alin Dosoftei
December 26, 2007
02:39 PM

temporal, why do you give reasons to reply to this person? He is a helpless troll that represents here the Rumanians, until, as I said, a normal one will try to speak as social human being.

I gave already the link of the Webster Dictionary that attests Romani in 1812. If one knows the writings of


they may see he used extensively the word Romany. What can we do if literate people were not interested in Romani language earlier?

I see you're rather interested in the delirium of this... I don't know how to name him. I said earlier that only a part of the Roma have a connection with Romania. It's normal, we live in every continent, in most of the countries. How can be explained that Roma took the name from Rumanians, if most of them have no idea about this people? Moreover, I repeated many times, the Rumanians changed their names into Romanians (see above the Wikipedia link). They came closer to the name of the Roma and now they have also the pluck to complain.

Ruvy in Jerusalem
December 26, 2007
03:11 PM

Just for everybody's information, the standard British spelling of the country in question was Roumania, and in the 19th century, it was Rumania, after being united as a kingdom.

The Communists changed the spelling during the days they ruled the country to Romania, and the world has adjusted to that spelling.

But that is not the issue here.

Bigotry is the issue.

Romanians do not like "Gypsies" at all, and the idea that these wanderers of South Asian ancestry should take a name like Roma, makes many Romanians feel, "there goes the neighborhood" - like whites would feel if a black family moved in 50 years ago. They do not want the negative connotations they themselves attribute to Roma and Roma culture to stain themselves.

That is what Adrian is really going on about.

In the early 20th century, the Romanians hated Jews, and blamed them for all of their country's problems. But the Iron Guard and the Nazis killed off lots of Romanian Jews, and the remainder fled the country after WWII, coming here, or going to Canada or America.

With no Jews to blame anymore, lots or Romanians point their fingers at the Roma. Now that they are free of Communists sitting on the natural expressions of the country, the bigotry against the Roma can come out into the open...

December 26, 2007
03:18 PM


Why there aren't historical proofs to clarify the etymology of the term "rom" for gypsies? The use of this etnonim was obscure to zero untill the 90 when it began the program who aimed to change the official name for gypsies and was sponsored by Soros fundation. George Soros is a wealthy multi-bilionare american-hungarian speculator being awarded by the Times Magazine in top 25 Most Influential Americans .

As a people (or, more accurately, a collection of disparate groups) originating in India's Gujarat, gypsies were the camp followers of Mongol invaders of Eastern Europe in the 13th century. Once within the Byzantine Empire, they adapted the Byzantine self-defining term of Romaioi ("Romans" in Greek), given Byzantium's claim to be the direct successor of the (Eastern) Roman Empire. Hence today's historically absurd self-definition as "Roma."


the word and term "rom" doesn't have any connection with your language or heritage.

Even the romanian gypsy linguist Delia Grigore ( O cunosti mai mult ca sigur) recognised that the original term is "DOM" and that was taken from Prakrit language and adapted to "Rom". Rom means nothing in your language and in any language. The correct term is who means "man" in Prakrite is DOM .

I see you continue to deceive, lie and and manipulate the readers . Haven't you got any shame?

Cine te plateste sa raspandesti propaganda tiganeasca si sa lovesti in Romania ? eu stiu dar te las sa zici tu...

December 26, 2007
03:25 PM

if this:
Alin Dosoftei these days you will have a wonderfull surprise. Too bad you decided too late to protect your privacy, is a veiled threat you should know you can be traced too adrian

December 26, 2007
03:35 PM

a little addition to my previus statement

Why there aren't historical proofs to clarify the etymology of the term "rom" for gypsies? The use of this etnonim was obscure to zero untill the 90 when FROM ROMANIA began the program who aimed to change the official name for gypsies and was sponsored by Soros fundation. George Soros is a wealthy multi-bilionare american-hungarian speculator being awarded by the Times Magazine in top 25 Most Influential Americans .

@Ruvy in Jerusalem i'm sad to hear this things from you. Did you know Romania had the biggest jew minority in the prewar period? And that even in present are some sizeble jew communities. Are romanians guilt for what Nazis and Iron Guard did to you?

Don't forget that even in present Romania has strong relations with Israel at political level.

We don't hate and had never hate jews or Israel . I think you are alot more hated by other countries in contrary Romania is among those who actually sympathise you.

This is not about hating gypsies or "roma" or whatever their name is. This is about unveiling the truth about this etnonim. The normal gypsy population are the last who are guilt for this manipulatios, the normal gypsy people don't even think at this aspects, they are more concerned about havin something to put on their table for their children.

Gypsies and Romanians could live together in pace, if there wasn't the actual fact that some of your elite wants to steal our identity . The decision is up to you guys, if you real care about normal gypsy population you would change this etnonim, into some other which isn't similar to Romania or romanian.

that's all

December 26, 2007
03:53 PM

@ Quoting Madalin Voicu a famous gypsy from Romania :

My dad was a tsigan(gyspy) not a rom, thus i'm a tsigan(gyspy) and not a rom.

May 4, 2008
06:14 AM

Oh man.. where should I start? First of all I want to say that i am a Romanian, but not an "Adrian-like" Romanian. What Alin said about us is unfortunately mostly true, a lot of Romanians today are violent (in all ways), impulsive and have litle respect for logic. We were never a tolerant people like the nationalistic legends say, but today the Romanian society is in a prolonged an deep crisis and we seem to look more and more like the "gypsy" stereotype. I do hope though that with the economic growth that started to happen people will become more "relaxed" and some basic human values will come back into our lives. I also hope that people will realize that not all Romanians are like Adrian and that as usually "the dogs" are the loudest.

About the Rom/Romani matter, I don't know what is the etymology of the word, but i now that the word is not new and i know that not even the fight for its recognition its not new (definitely older than 1971). For example, a simple investigation on the net shows that in 1933 appeared "Uniunea Generala a Romilor din Romania (General Union of Romanian Roma)". Even the article of Delia Grigore posted by Adrian shows that if the term Rom comes from Dom that happened long time ago and happened naturally. Unlike the change from Ruman/Rîmîn into Român done by Romanian nationalists in the 19 century. Not to mention that in fact we were mostly known by the exonym "wlach/walach" that also had pejorative connotations. Even today some Magyars call us "olah" in a derogatory way.

It is true that Romani resembles Romanian, but there are many cases in which different ethnic groups have similar names and nobody confuses them. I, as a Romanian, never met any foreigner who would take us for Romanies. The only Romanians that complain about this are Romanians that bleary hate the Roma (not few) and who just search for excuses to express their hate. The idea that the Roma want to replace us it is obviously ridiculous and I hope that you don't think that most Romanians are that "smart" as Adrian. In fact after the slavery abolition in the 19 century the most common movement for Romanies was that out of Romania. And in these days more than ever.

What is more serious is that today many Romanians try to put the entire blame for the country's bad image on the Romanies. They have started to call all Romanian criminals "tigani (gypsyes)" regardless of their true ethnicity, without even thinking that this might create the idea that the Romanians are "gypsyes". And yet they shout that they don't want to be confused with the "gypsies". One very good example is the one posted by Alin: Doina Matei. An ethnic Romanian girl who killed an old Italian lady, and that is called everywhere "gypsy" by Romanians. One cannot say how many of the criminals are ethnic Romanian and how many are ethnic Romani from the news, but one thing you can tell for sure is that Romanians commit more serious crimes than the Romanies (like the Romanian guy that killed an Italian couple with a hammer some days ago!!!)

@Ruvy. As far as i know the etymology of word "Hebrew" is still disputed. In the Romanian language the word "evreu (Hebrew)" is also used contemporany instead of "jidan (Jew)" who is very offensive. The mechanisms by which various names for the same people get positive or negative connotations can vary from place to place.

@Stan. You said that "only about two dozen "delegates", apart from a few observers, are said to have taken the far-reaching decision for several millions of Gypsies worldwide". But how many Rumanians decided that we should call ourself Români instead of Rumani/Râmîni, vlachs/walachs?
And nobody in knowledge does not attach the name Rom to the Lom or Dom groups.

@smallsquirrel. Unfortunately, not only Ceausescu was a bloody crazed Romanian, we had lots of them from old times to new, from "left" to "right". What is worse is that many of them are considered "heroes".

@Adrian. If you have "gypsy and jew friends" bring one here and let him tell us that he is your friend.. in his own language. This will really show us...

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