‘Language has consequences’

Cordon Press

A Roma group plans to hold protests next week in front of the Royal Language Academy headquarters in Madrid due to the oldest and most prestigious Spanish dictionary changing the definition of ‘gypsy’ or ‘gitano’ to ‘swindles.’

The dictionary has caused outrage after several years of action and complaint was carried out in order to change the definition of the word from it’s previous meaning ‘defrauding or operating with deception.’

The groups genuinely thought a difference had been made after the RAE agreed to amend the definition and they were furious when they found out what the definition had been changed to.


Now the dictionary has added a secondary meaning of the word and states that it is synonymous with ‘trapacero’ which means ‘dishonest and swindling’ which proved to be highly offensive to the Roma groups.

Spain’s  Association of Roma Feminists for Diversity (AGFD) plan to take action over the next coming weeks in a bid to remove the definition.

They believe that it is marginalising the community and that the dictionary shouldn’t be able to define a whole culture in such offensive terms as it promotes prejudice and stereotyping.

The Academy made it clear on Twitter what their views on the definition change were, when asked about the word ‘gitano’ they stated that the dictionary “doesn’t authorise or impose the sense in which speakers use or have used the words; it only seeks to reflect this,” which insinuates that the people using words are to blame and not the dictionary.



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