1) A gipsy; correctly a person from Egypt, but used of vagrants and the like who pretended to be from that country.

The OED has this meaning from 1514 and the term was employed in Acts of Parliament: 1530 'divers and many outlandish people calling themselves Egyptians, using no Craft ... have come into this realm ... and used subtil and crafty means to deceive the people'. It was in regular use through the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries: 1567 John Davye, an Egiptian, Leeds

1605 ‘four women, vagrantes more Egyptianorum’, Stokesley

1667 there came a man and a woman to Mr Wade’s desiring him to tel them where to find something they had lost ... he said he could not tel but he had an Egiptian in the house that could, Northowram. By that time it was being regularly abbreviated to ‘gipsy’: 1649-50 divers people in the habitts of jipscy ... did tell fortunes ... did some tyme speake in languages wich none ... could understand, Butterwick.

dates 1567 1605 1649-1650 1667

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