50 Gypsy Quotes for Understanding an Old Word

Explore the world of mystery and old-world traditions with these gypsy quotes.

Across the world, people use the word Gypsy all of the time, but what does it actually mean?

Let’s learn about it together. 

What is a gypsy? 

In the United States, people associate the word Gypsy with a lifestyle. 

When people talk about living like a nomad, being free-spirited, or working with mysticism, they use the word Gypsy. 

However, the word gypsy refers to a group of people. 

The word Gypsy refers to the Romani people of Europe. 

The Romani are the largest ethnic minority group in Europe. 

Generations ago, the Romani migrated from northern India, moving through the Middle East and North Africa and eventually settling in part of Europe. 

Many people hear the word Romani or Roma and assume that Romania is being addressed.

This is not the case; Romanians are a different group of people altogether. 

An estimated 12 million Romani people live in Europe, with another million living in the United States. 

In comparison to most Europeans, Romani people have darker physical features. 

They have darker hair, eyes, and skin.  

When the Romani came to Europe, they were often mistaken for people from Egypt, and “gypsy” became a popular nomenclature. 

The Romani people have a history of persecution. 

One of the lesser-known aspects of their past is that roughly 70-80 percent of their population was genocided in the German Holocaust. 

The Romani even experienced chattel slavery for 500 years! 

In Romania, their chattel conditions did not end until 1860. 

To put that date into context, American chattel slavery did not end until 1865. 

Is Gypsy a slur? 

Many people may identify with being a gypsy. 

However, many words change context depending on who uses them.

The word gypsy is an ethnic slur. 

Recently, a moth species, Lymantria dispar, was renamed. 

For many years, scientists referred to this moth as the gypsy moth. 

The moth is considered invasive, meaning it enters and disrupts foreign ecosystems. 

The moth was called the gypsy moth because of the racist associations with Romani culture in Europe and abroad. 

However, the Entomological Society of America dropped the names of two organisms.

Those names no longer refer to the gypsy moth and the gypsy ant because they contain ethnic slurs. 

The words we use impact our reality 

Margareta Matache is the director of the Roma program at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. 

She was one of the professionals consulted regarding changing the moth’s name. 

Of the name change, she notes, “We have been constantly dehumanized through the means of language and links to insects, animals, criminality, opulence.”

Our words become our reality and impact how we view people, places, and things. 

Matache agrees with the importance of impeccability.

She states, “Words have power, and more so, racial slurs like the G-word have been particularly offensive and dangerous for Romani people.” 

Want to learn more about the word Gypsy?

Check out our gypsy quotes below for more informative content. 

Short Gypsy quotes about living free

Gypsy culture is known for its nomadic lifestyle of non-attachment, and these quotes celebrate that idea. 

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1. “Sure, we need the gypsies. We always have.” Stephen King

2. “This week, I’m a gypsy. Maybe next week it’ll be glitter rock.” — Jimmy Page

3. “For gypsies do not like to stay. They only come to go away.” — Ludwig Bemelmans

4. “Was it a light only she could see? A gypsy’s spell? A mystery?” — Mary Chapin Carpenter

5. “I’ll always stand by my Gypsy roots, and I’ll always help out one of my own.” Cher Lloyd

6. “I just really think every job I do, I get this gypsy attitude to money.” — Jessica Brown Findlay

7. “It is impossible to imagine a more complete fusion with nature than that of the Gypsy.” — Franz Liszt

8. “Things have a life of their own, the gypsy proclaimed with a harsh accent.” — Gabriel Garcia Marquez

9. “What is this gypsy passion for separation, this readiness to rush off when we’ve just met?” — Marina Tsvetaeva

10. “There are a lot of us little gypsies out there that need to go and find another place, you know” Drew Barrymore

Gyspy travel quotes to help you on your journey

People who travel often identify with the gypsy way of life. 

11. “I am a gypsy. I haven’t had a home for a long time.” — Taylor Kinney

12. “I need to keep traveling, being a gypsy, having experiences and writing about them.” — Delta Goodrem

13. “She had acquired some of his gypsy ways, some of his nonchalance, his bohemian indiscipline.” Anais Nin

14. “Live a little, be a gypsy, get around. Get your feet up off the ground, live a little, get around.” Paul McCartney

15. “And I want to rock your gypsy soul Just like way back in the days of old And magnificently we will fold into the mystic.” — Van Morrison

16. “I must down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life, To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife.” — John Masefield

17. “If there’s one thing I’ve learned in this life, it’s that you never say no to an old gypsy woman with a blind eye and leprous fingernails.” — Roger Ebert

18. “I have a deep, rabid curiosity, so I like having a gypsy life.” — Hilarie Burton

19. “They range the field and rove the flood, And they climb the mountain’s crest; Their’s is the curse of the gypsy blood, And they don’t know how to rest.” — Robert W. Service

20. “We still name our military helicopter gunships after victims of genocide. Nobody bats an eyelash about that: Blackhawk. Apache. And Comanche. If the Luftwaffe named its military helicopters Jew and Gypsy, I suppose people would notice.” Noam Chomsky

Gypsy quotes about what moves the soul

Gypsy culture focuses on the magic of life, the soul, and the connectivity between everything. 

21. “But I was always a bit of a gypsy, anyway.” — Jimmy Johnson

22. “Art is an outsider, a gypsy over the face of the earth.” — Robert Henri

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23. “I guess I haven’t gotten over being lost, a wandering gypsy.” — Neil Diamond

24. “When I got out of high school, I hit the road. I lived like a gypsy.” — Rex Smith

25. “On tour, I’m finding out that I am half gypsy, forty percent vagabond, and ten house cat.” — Jason Reeves

26. “Come on, Gypsy girl. I’m bleeding to death here, in case you haven’t noticed. At least make it worth my while and kiss me before I die.” — Jennifer Estep

27. “And I remember most of what I know that is good and true and lasting has come not from scholars but from minstrels and gypsies.” — Robert James Waller

28. “Do you know what friendship is?’ he asked. Yes, replied the Gypsy; ‘it is to be brother and sister; two souls which touch without mingling, two fingers on one hand.” Victor Hugo

29. “A writer is like a gypsy. He owes no allegiance to any government. If he is a good writer, he will never like any government he lives under. His hand should be against it, and its hand will always be against him.” Ernest Hemingway

30. “If you don’t have a bed, dresser, wall, book, or toy, you are oppressed. An African American in a white world. A Jew in a Christian world. A gypsy. A Native American. A Chinese American. Let’s say you were born deprived.” — Gerald Stern

Gypsy quotes about culture and roots

These gypsy quotes remind us how deep the roots of heritage run. 

31. “Artists make art. Singers sing. Players play. Gypsies travel.” — Ann Wilson

32. “Through gypsy camps and swirling Arab fair, and moonlit woods where unicorns run free.” Shel Silverstein

33. “Ghost? St. Vincent shot him an incredulous glance. Christ. You’re not serious, are you? I’m a Gypsy.” — Lisa Kleypas

34. “Flamenco is Arabic music and rhythms filtered through centuries of gypsies making music.” — Ottmar Liebert

35. “When I did ‘E.T.,’ it sort of solidified the only family I know are these film crews. These gypsies. These filmmakers.” — Drew Barrymore

36. “My mother was a gypsy, and she had a lot of dark blood in her, and her hair was very, very thick – she couldn’t even get a brush through it.” Robert Plant

37. “Gypsy dance is never just to be dancing. Instead, it seems to be a part of an immense and significant non-verbal vocabulary of Gypsy communication and behavior.” — Kate Magowan

38. “My earliest memories are wanting and needing to entertain people, like a gypsy traveler who goes from place to place, city to city, performing for audiences and reaching people.” — Brittany Murphy

39. “Holocaust Memorial Day is intended as an inclusive commemoration of all the individuals and communities who suffered as a result of the Holocaust – not only Jews but also Gypsies, Slavs, homosexuals, political prisoners and dozens of ethnic and other minorities.” — Jack Straw

40. “Today’s Gypsies, who have lived in Prague for only two generations, light a ritual fire wherever they work, a nomads’ fire crackling only for the joy of it, a blaze of roughhewn wood like a child’s laugh, a symbol of the eternity that preceded human thought, a free fire, a gift from heaven, a living sign of the elements unnoticed by the world-weary pedestrian, a fire in the ditches of Prague warming the wanderer’s eye and soul.” — Bohumil Hrabal

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Gypsey quotes and sayings about how your home is where you make it

Gypsy culture is known for traveling; these quotes remind us that home is where we make it. 

41. “I love being a gypsy. Home is between New York and California.” — Erin Wasson

42. “Gypsies are, to say the least, underrepresented in literature and film.” — Stef Penney

43. “There are two types of people in this world: Gypsy and Gadge. Which one am I? Neither. I’m a writer.” — Allison Mackie

44. “I had a gypsy upbringing, so I moved around all over the place and can’t remember a street I grew up on.” — Vanessa Hudgens

45. “I understand travel. I understand the experience of travel. I mean, there is something of the “air-conditioned gypsy” in me.” — Greg Lake

46. “I’m a little bit of a gypsy myself. I’ve always had jobs where I’m moving around, and I’m not sure what’s going to happen tomorrow or the next day.” — Niall Matter

47. “I would totally lose myself in the music and be a gypsy. I would go wherever I wanted to in my head – wherever the music took me. My body followed.” Elizabeth Taylor

48. “I love being a gypsy and getting on the bus with the band making sounds for the people who love and enjoy a night of Americana and good times.” — Shelby Lynne

49. “I think America is amazing for its landscape and its history. California is beautiful, New York is beautiful, but when you’re a gypsy at heart, it probably suits you to be traveling.” Lana Del Rey

50. “I have a passion for ballads. They are the gypsy children of song, born under green hedgerows in the leafy lanes and bypaths of literature, in the genial Summertime.” — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

What is life like for Romani children?

Sometimes we tend to believe that racist conditions are a thing of the past. 

Some people see South Africa’s apartheid or The United States’ segregation law as past conditions that do not impact today. 

While legalized racism is no longer the law, defacto conditions still exist. 

However, the remnants of those attitudes exist in our modern era. 

For Romani children, the National Federation of Gypsy Liaison Groups and Anglia Ruskin University report that ninety percent of Roma children have experienced racial abuse in places like the United Kingdom. 

Romani people live in secluded areas and segregated settlements in places like Hungary. 

Ninety percent of all Romani living in Europe live below the poverty line. 

An old adage says that when we know better, we do better. 

So, the next time you see the word, Gypsy, consider the context. 

What is your point of view on the word Gypsy?

Please, be sure to let us know in the comment section. 

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