(g soft). Said to be a corruption of Egyptian, and so called because in 1418 a band of them appeared in Europe, commanded by a leader named Duke Michael of “Little Egypt.” Other appellations are:
(2) Bohemians. So called by the French, because the first that ever arrived in their country came from Bohemia in 1427, and presented themselves before the gates of Paris. They were not allowed to enter the city, but were lodged at La Chapelle, St. Denis. The French nickname for gipsies is cagoux (unsociables).
(3) Ciganos So called by the Portuguese, a corruption of Zinga'nè.
(4) Gitanos. So called by the Spaniards, a corruption of Zinga'nè.
(5) Heidens (heathens). So called by the Dutch, because they are heathens.
(6) Pharaoh-nepek (Pharaoh's people). So called in Hungary, from the notion that they came from Egypt.
(7) Sinte. So called by themselves, because they assert that they came from Sind, i.e. Ind (Hindustan).
(8) Tatar. So called by the Danes and Swedes, from the notion that they came from Tartary.
(9) Tchingani or Tshingani. So called by the Turks, from a tribe still existing at the mouth of the Indus
(Tshin-calo, black Indian).
(10) Walachians. So called by the Italians, from the notion that they came from Walachia.
(11) Zigeuner (wanderers). So called by the Germans.
(12) Zincali or Zingani. Said to be so called by the Turks, because in 1517 they were led by Zinganeus to revolt from Sultan Selim; but more likely a mere variety of Tchingani (q.v..)
Their language, called “Romany,” contains about 5,000 words, the chief of which are corrupt Sanskrit. There is a legend that these people are waifs and strays on the earth, because they refused to shelter the Virgin and her child in their flight to Egypt. (Aventinus, Annales Boiorum, chap. viii.)
(The). Anthony de Solario, the painter and illuminator, Il Zingaro (1382-1455).
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894