Is "gyp" offensive?

Is the word “gyp” (with the meaning of “being cheated or ripped off”) offensive?

I think as it is an ethnic slur (against Rroma, also known as gypsies).

If this is not offensive, why is it not?

WRS - Opre Rroma!

Of course, it’s offensive. How could it not be?

How can it be offensive since Gypsies are now called the Romany?

How can “nigger” be offensive when they’re now called “African-American”?

If you really think “nigger” and “gyp” are equally offensive, then uyou have a problem.

Who said anything about ‘equally offensive’?

Of course it’s offensive. It equals to the phrases “to Jew someone” or “an Indian-giver.” Just because there are more English speakers personally offended by the terms “nigger,” “to Jew,” and “Indian-giver” (because of demographics), doesn’t mean it’s not still an offensive term.
I personally cringe when I hear it used (I’m not Romany, myself), partially because so many people don’t actually know what there saying.

I’m willing to bet that most people who use the word “gyp” have no idea it refers to gypsies to begin with.

It might suprise you to know that they were always called the Roma (or the Sinti, or the Pavee, or the Lom, or the Dom, it really depends what ethnic group they belong to.)

No, it’s not “Political Correctness gone MAD!!”.

It’s basic decency. the word gypsy itself isn’t offensive, but if you know the ethnicity, use that instead.

I agree… I know I didn’t know its etymology for the longest time but even after learning it, I still use it occasionally. Old habits die hard.

Things don’t have to be equally offensive to be offensive.

I don’t see why ‘gyp’ can’t be as offensive as ‘nigger’ especially if you are a Roma ( is that right word for one ‘gypsy’). They just haven’t had the political clout that blacks have due to being a smaller minority. However, most people using “gyp,” “jew down,” or “Indian giver” are not racist. And in regards to some prhases/words like “gyp”, might not even know that it refers to “gypsys” or that “gypsy” is not PC.

As a side note, I use un-politically correct language at times. As for the naysayers, whether PC police or minorities, fuck’em. I get pissed when people use redneck negatively at times, even at Jeff Foxworthy, and the proper response to my anger by those using the term probably should be a “fuck’em” directed at me.

BTW, does anyone know what a “Mexican-fit-all” is?

It’s a racial slur. It’s offensive. However, a lot of people don’t know the origins of the expression. I have occassionaly said to friends, “Do you know where that comes from?” They were all appalled at what they were unknowingly perpetuating.

Saying “gyp” is only offensive if someone with whom you are speaking finds it offensive. There is nothing inherently offensive in any word. A word is simply a construct of letters. So you may want to avoid using the word if you’re talking to any Roma or someone who is hyper-sensitive about “offensive” language. Most other people won’t care and the word will not be offensive.

Same goes with phrases like “welsh on a debt” or “Indian giver.” Even “niggardly” will get you in trouble. Simply know your audience.

It seems to me that “gyp” would be offensive because whether the speaker or listener is aware of it or not, the term perpetuates a vicious and false stereotype of a downtrodden people. Similar with the construct of “to Jew someone down,” etc., except that Jews have more clout than Rroma.

Hence, in this sense “gyp” is more offensive than the n-word as I don’t see how the n-word perpetuates a vicious and false stereotype of a downtrodden people (people of African origins have far more clout in the US than Rroma, at the very least). Plus, some people use the n-word amongst themselves, neutralizing whatever negative origin or original connotation it had, whereas I have never heard of Rromani using “gyp” amongst themselves about themselves in a similar manner.


Have to disagree with you there. Since it seems that most people do not associate the term “gyp” with the ethnic group “gypsies,” then how can one be perpetuating a stereotype? Most people who use the word “gyp” simply mean it in the context of being screwed over. “I was gyped” is used interchangeably for “I was screwed.” I doubt anyone really puts any thought into it, and thus they are not perpetuating any stereotype. They are simply saying a word.

As I mentioned in another thread just yesterday, the phrase “to welch” comes from the German word welken meaning “to fade”.

It was used to describe dishonest bookies who would fade away from a race meeting without settling winning bets.

It’s not a racial slur against the Welsh (although, like niggardly, it’s often perceived as such).

When I was at school we used to have “jew bundles” for 1p coins.

Most of us had no idea that it referred to jews (I used to think it was “dew”, since the coin was thrown on the ground and would thus be covered in morning dew); even when we found out it was “jew” I still didn’t know that jews had a reputation for penny-pinching.

My jewish friend James was the only one who found it offensive (fair enough) but I would say that it was only after he had pointed out the true implication of the phrase that its use would have become properly unacceptable - at least from the point of view of those of using the phrase.

At the risk of invoking Godwin’s Law, if a word is simply a construct of letters it follows that you won’t get offended if I call you a “Nazi motherfucker”. Not that I’m seriously accusing you of being either of such things, but your position is laughably naive.

If you read the rest of my sentence, you would see that I said that you have to know your audience to see if a word is offensive or not. Since pretty much everyone agrees that “Nazi” and “motherfucker” is are negative things, then you using that word makes it offensive, especially if you are using it in a belligerent context. However, if I’m around my friends, I can get away with calling someone a motherfucker and even a Nazi and no one will get offended.

Same with “gyp.” If you’re a Roma or hyper-sensitive about this stuff, then I wouldn’t use it around you. Otherwise, who cares if I use it? No one is offended, and words in and of themselves mean only what the speaker and the listener take them to mean. This can more clearly be seen with the word “nigger.” As a white guy I can’t use the word to a black person or most white people because the listener perceives a slur when he/she hears the word. Thus, the word is offensive. However, if a certain black person says it to another, then that is OK, because the listener does not perceive it as a slur.

As I said above, a word is simply a construct of letters. It’s only offensive if someone perceives it as such.