Is "gyp" a derogatory word?

Carol Higgins Clark writes mysteries whose titles are all one syllable past tenses of verbs who have a double meaning in the tale. I was rather surprised that her latest is entitled GYPPED, a word with a dubious etymology

So, unacceptable word or not?

I said “Other” because I don’t think the origin is even on the radar of most people who use it. As opposed to “jewed him down” referring to hard bargaining - I suspect most people know that phrase has derogatory origins.

I don’t know - this is a tough one. I knew the origin of gypped but when I’ve used the term, it’s been strictly as a synonym for cheated, not at all considering any ethnic implications. The more I think about it, the more I’m inclined to say it’s unacceptable.

How’s that for a decisive answer??

I’m surprised it is listed as originating in American English. Does America even have people called gypsies?

“Gypsy” itself is short for an old word meaning “Egyptian,” which is completely inaccurate but not something that anyone dwells on today. So I don’t see why “gyp” can’t be separated from “gypsy” in our minds just as “gypsy” was separated from “Egyptian”.

I voted other. As with so many things, it depends.

For many decades, I used, heard, and read “gyp” without ever perceiving the slightest hint that it might be derogatory. I would venture that most, like me, never made a real association with “gypsy” and never had the slightest thought about gypsies when the word came up. This is in contrast to something like “jew down,” meaning negotiate a lower price, which clearly and unarguably was connected to negative stereotypes of Jews being parsimonious.

Roughly ten years ago, I first heard objections to the word “gypsy,” which I gather is perceived as a slur by those now go by “Rom” or “Romani.” I got the impression that people were more upset about being called a gypsy than about someone saying they’d been gypped, but of course with “gypsy” being deemed politcally incorrect “gyp” was deemed likewise. I seem to recall that the distaste for “gypsy” was at least partly because of the negative connotation of “gyp,” though I wouldn’t be surprised if there were other factors.

Anyway, I recognize “gyp” and “gypsy” as being considered derogatory nowadays. I strongly suspect, however, that boatloads of folks have not learned of this and blithely use “gyp” with no knowledge whatsoever of its being frowned upon.

I remember hearing that Oprah Winfrey got a bunch of complaints when she used the word “gyp” on her program. She later apologized, saying she didn’t realize the origin of the word and would no longer use it.

It is absolutely derogatory. Just because someone doesn’t know it’s derogatory doesn’t make it any less offensive.

I said yes, though I should have said other, probably.

The word itself is derogatory, and people have a right to be offended, however, at least when I was a kid in the 90s, it was absurdly common. I went through at least the first 14 or so years of my life using it along with every other one of my friends around me, and I can assure you none of us would have used it if we knew where it came from – and we stopped using it when we found out. (In fact, I thought it was spelled “jipped”, I learned it was “gypped” at the same time I found out the etymology)

So while the word is derogatory, it’s not in the same class as other racially insensitive words, I wouldn’t immediately assume “racist asshole” like I would with someone who used a derivation of “nigger” (and no, I’m not referring to “niggardly”) or said they got “Jewed” or something.

That’s true. However, if the great majority doesn’t know it’s derogatory, it likely will be used and heard in many situations without anyone involved thinking there’s any offense.

Sure, but there are hardly any Gypsies in the U.S., so nobody gives a shit.

African-Americans compose very little of the staff where I work (in fact there is only guy), but you know what we avoid saying something is “nigger rigged” even when he’s not around because ethnic slurs are bad. You know using terms like gyped only serve to justify crime (at least in the minds) of Roma and Travelers who live that way.

Now on the OP question, “gyped” can be derogatory the same way “nigger”, “wet-back”, “yid”, etc., are depending on who is using it.

Of course, its use as a synonym for “cheated” is inextricably linked to its ethnic implications. The people originally using it to mean “cheated” chose it because of their assumption that “Gypsies” (Roma) were criminals and fraudsters.

But you deal with African-Americans frequently in your day-to-day life. How many Gypsies do you work with? When was the last time you even interacted with one?

I know it’s the White Man’s Crusade to get offended on behalf of every racial group out there (which, by the way, is incredibly patronizing to those groups), but it’s just not something the majority of people can muster enough energy to get worked up over.

I’m one… Well, one sixteenth. It’s derrogatory. But I’m never offended if people don’t have a clue. I am offended when people know its offensive but don’t give a shit because they don’t know any. I don’t have horns or anything, how would you know you don’t know “gypsies.”.

(it’d Jews that have horns, you know).

Oh my god don’t turn over that rock please.

“Derogatory” = the speaker or writer used it as an intentional put-down
“Offensive” = the listener or recipient of the word takes offense

Usually but not always the same.

So yes, I’ve heard and used the term many times in my life; no, I didn’t mean it in a derogatory fashion (not realizing its origin); no, I don’t use it any more if I can help it; and since I’ve never knowingly spoken to a gypsy, nobody could have taken offense at it directly (only indirectly, as someone who isn’t a gypsy saying “You can’t use that word, it means gypsy and that you think they’re cheating scum!” - not that that’s how I learned about it, either).

No harm, no foul.

Do Serbians, Poles, Russians, etc., take offense at the English word “slave”, which derives from Slav? Or how about the Welsh, who can not only take offense at the verb “to welsh (or welch)” meaning to renege on a bet, but also from the very term coming from a Saxon word meaning “foreigner” at best and “slave” or “captive” at worst (it’s not at all close to the actual Welsh term for Wales or the Welsh people)?

I wake up in a house full of Roma Gypsies, sometimes have morning sex in the shower with one, and apply my make-up staring at the image of one in the mirror. I’m employed at a university where I actively try to recruit more Roma students. I would say 24/7.

It’s on the level of the verbs jew and nigger-rig.
It ties a people to a negative stereotype, and that can only lead to hatred and mistrust.

A question though, I see nothing wrong with “Irish-up”, but I’m not sure why it isn’t bigotted.

The reason there aren’t many gypsies about, was that the Germans and their allies genocided 95% of them when you Americans were waiting out the second world war. Please don’t spit on their graves.

Is this mainly an Americanism? As a youth I only ever heard the term used to describe a persistent pain or bad stomach as in " My leg is still giving me gyp" or “can’t leave the bathroom because of my gyppy tummy”

The latter I believe has its origins in the 2nd World War in the Middle East describing the symptoms of dysentry and is a corruption of Egypt (also synonymous with Delhi Belly)

UK/Euro or Commonwealth dopers concur?

The word – meaning “to swindle” – is so far removed from its origins that it has nothing to do with them. You might as well object to “shine” as being offensive.

Ditto, this seems like one of those things where some people somewhere who are apparently authorities on this say it is offensive, much like Cartoon Network for a time yanked any depiction of an eskimo as offensive.