- French bohème, bohémien, from the Kingdom of Bohemia, where they were incorrectly believed to have come from, carrying writs of protection from King Sigismund of Bohemia.
- French gitan, English gypsy, Spanish gitano, Catalan gitano, Italian gitano, Turkish kipti, all from Greek Αἰγύπτιος Aigýptios "Egyptian" (corrupted form: Γύφτος Gýftos), and Hungarian fáreónépe from Greek φαραώ pharaó "pharaoh" – referring to their allegedly Egyptian provenance. Usage of "gypsy" and similarly derived words differs between groups as some Roma groups use this word as a self-identifier while others consider this word a racial slur.
- English tzigane (for Hungarian gypsies), Spanish zíngaro, cíngaro, French tzigane, Old High German zigeuner, German Zigeuner, Dutch zigeuner, Danish sigøjner, Swedish zigenare, Norwegian sigøynere Old Church Slavic ациганинъ atsyganin, Italian zingaro, Romanian țigan, Hungarian cigány, Serbo-Croatian cigan, ciganin, Albanian cigan, Polish cygan, Czech cikán, Portuguese cigano, Turkish çigan, Azerbaijani çıqan, Slovak cigán or cigáň, Venetian singano, Russian цыгане tsygane, Ukrainian цигани tsyhany, Bulgarian цигани tsigani, Lithuanian čigonai, Latvian čigāni, Georgian ციგანი; from Greek ἀθίγγανος athínganos (corrupted form: τσιγγάνος tsingános), "untouchable". Due to the negative connotations of referring to an ethnic group as "untouchable" words derived from this source are usually considered derogatory and outdated by modern Roma peoples.
- Albanian Jevg (referring to Roma that speak Albanian), evgjit (From the plural form of jevg: jevgjit), gabel (referring to nomadic groups, they predominantly speak Romani), Magjup (commonly used in Korça, Roma of Egyptian origin)
- Azerbaijani qaraçı (derives from the Azeri word qara – "black" and the suffix -çı denoting the stem-word's function/occupation)
- Arabic Nawar and Zott.
- Egyptian Arabic ghager (غجر)
Rom means man or husband in the Romani language. It has the variants dom and lom, related with the Sanskrit words dam-pati (lord of the house, husband), dama (to subdue), lom (hair), lomaka (hairy), loman, roman (hairy), romaça (man with beard and long hair). Another possible origin is from Sanskrit डोम doma (member of a low caste of travelling musicians and dancers).
In the Romani language, Rom is a masculine noun, meaning 'man of the Roma ethnic group' or 'man, husband', with the plural Roma. The feminine of Rom in the Romani language is Romni. However, in most cases, in other languages Rom is now used for people of both genders.
Romani is the feminine adjective, while Romano is the masculine adjective. Some Romanies use Rom or Roma as an ethnic name, while others (such as the Sinti, or the Romanichal) do not use this term as a self-ascription for the entire ethnic group.
Sometimes, rom and romani are spelled with a double r, i.e., rrom and rromani. In this case rr is used to represent the phoneme /ʀ/ (also written as ř and rh), which in some Romani dialects has remained different from the one written with a single r. The rr spelling is common in certain institutions (such as the INALCO Institute in Paris), or used in certain countries, e.g., Romania, to distinguish from the endonym/homonym for Romanians (sg. român, pl. români).
A Romani wagon pictured in 2009 in Grandborough
Fields in Warwickshire (Grandborough Fields Road is a popular spot for travelling people)
In the English language (according to the Oxford English Dictionary), Rom is a noun (with the plural Roma or Roms) and an adjective, while Romani (Romany) is also a noun (with the plural Romani, the Romani, Romanies or Romanis) and an adjective. Both Rom and Romani have been in use in English since the 19th century as an alternative for Gypsy. Romani was initially spelled Rommany, then Romany, while today the Romani spelling is the most popular spelling. Occasionally, the double r spelling (e.g., Rroma, Rromani) mentioned above is also encountered in English texts.
The term Roma is increasingly encountered, as a generic term for the Romani people.
Because all Romanies use the word Romani as an adjective, the term became a noun for the entire ethnic group. Today, the term Romani is used by some organizations, including the United Nations and the US Library of Congress. However, the Council of Europe and other organizations consider that Roma is the correct term referring to all related groups, regardless of their country of origin, and recommend that Romani be restricted to the language and culture: Romani language, Romani culture.
The standard assumption is that the demonyms of the Romani people, Lom and Dom share the same origin.
The English term Gypsy (or Gipsy) originates from the Middle English gypcian, short for Egipcien. The Spanish term Gitano and French Gitan have similar etymologies. They are ultimately derived from the Greek Αιγύπτιοι (Aigyptioi), meaning Egyptian, via Latin. This designation owes its existence to the belief, common in the Middle Ages, that the Romani, or some related group (such as the Middle Eastern Dom people), were itinerant Egyptians. According to one narrative they were exiled from Egypt as punishment for allegedly harbouring the infant Jesus. As described in Victor Hugo's novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame, the medieval French referred to the Romanies as Egyptiens. The word Gypsy is in such common usage in English that indeed many Romani organizations use it in their own organizational names.
This exonym is sometimes written with capital letter, to show that it designates an ethnic group. However, the word is sometimes considered derogatory because of its negative and stereotypical associations. The Council of Europe consider that 'Gypsy' or equivalent terms, as well as administrative terms such as 'Gens du Voyage' (referring in fact to an ethnic group but not acknowledging ethnic identification) are not in line with European recommendations. In North America, the word Gypsy is most commonly used as a reference to Romani ethnicity, though lifestyle and fashion are at times also referenced by using this word.
Another common designation of the Romani people is Cingane (alt. Tsinganoi, Zigar, Zigeuner), which likely derives from Athinganoi, the name of a Christian sect with whom the Romani (or some related group) became associated in the Middle Ages.