1) A member of a wandering race (calling themselves Romany), of Hindu origin.

Gipsies, or Romanies, are said to have first come to this country in the early 1500s. Although they were of Hindu origin, they were mistakenly thought to be from Egypt and were called Egyptians. A number of Acts sought to control the outlandish People calling themselves Egyptians, more especially because they went ‘from place to place using subtil and crafty Means to deceive the King’s Subjects’, by telling fortunes. As early as 1537, a pardon was granted to a ‘company of lewde personnes … calling themselves Gipcyans’, who had been accused of a murder. Actually, people ‘calling themselves Egyptians’ may have been native-born Englishmen, for there were many who used the title so that they too might separate the gullible from their money. In 1729, three Londoners were arrested in Barnsley for wandring in the habit and form of counterfeit Egyptians and pretending to tell fortunes. By then, though, ‘gipsy’ was the popular form of the word, and it was used by Shakespeare and Milton among others.

spellings gypsy
places Barnsley
dates 1729

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