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Barrie  England

The entry in the OED Online has ‘gipsy, gypsy’, in that order. There is a note which reads:

‘From the quotations collected for the dictionary, the prevalent spelling of late years appears to have been “gipsy”. The plural “gypsies” is not uncommon, but the corresponding form in the singular seems to have been generally avoided, probably because of the awkward appearance of the repetition of “y”.’

I would always spell it ‘gypsy’ myself. That, at least, is consistent with ‘Egyptian’ from which it is derived.

Peter Harvey

Many thanks. My OED has the same note but what precisely is meant by 'of late years' and to what extent does it relate to the 1901 edition? My OED has only one 20th-century entry for the people (in fact for the language):

1930 J. Sampson Wind on Heath x. 277 (heading) One Use Of Gypsy.

Apart from that there are US examples but they are of no immediate use to me. I am reviewing the entry in my book and wanted to check the word. My preference was for 'gypsy' because of the derivation but gipsy must be acceptable.

By the way, the COED is of course an entirely different publication from the OED and is compiled according to different criteria, but I am a little surprised by the discrepancy.


Gipson, where I live, but the PC mob will probably be after you if you use either.

You know you can get free OED online access with a British local public library card?

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