An Incomplete Romani Glossary.

A Time from the World' by Rowena Farre
A Time from the World’ by Rowena Farre

The following glossary was taken from ‘A Time from the World’, by Rowena Farre. Though of non-Romani origin herself, she frequently joined various groups of the travelling community, including the Romani, Tinkers (itinerant tinsmiths), Mumpers (tramps who overwintered in the countryside), and often travelled solo too. 

‘A Time from the World’ was republished in 2013 by Little Toller Books as part of their Nature Classics series. Though it is no longer listed at their website, it is still available through most online booksellers, and provides a unique view into the lives of a number of travelling communities in the 1960s.

Farre’s model for striking out boldly into the world was provided by Isabelle Eberhardt, a fascinating character whose memoirs ‘The Nomad: The Diaries of Isabelle Eberhardt’ are also highly recommended. A true nonconformist, Eberhardt bent the world to her own direction, tragically (and some say suspiciously) dying at the age of twenty-seven during a flash flood in the deserts of Aïn Séfra, Algeria.


Bairn – child.

Bar – pound.

Beng – devil.

Bikkin – hawk (as in hawking wares).

Bikkining hawking.

Borro – big or great.

Bothie – tent.

Chal – boy or youth.

Chavvy – child.

Chie – girl or young woman.

Chokkers – boots.

Chop – to barter.

Clachan – settlement.

Didikai – half-Romani

Dordi – Oh dear!

Drom – road

Duk – hand or palm.

Dukker – tell a fortune.

Duw – God.

Gajitanos – strangers.

Gavver – police officer.

Gorgio – non-Romani

Grie – horse.

Hatchin-tan – pitch or camp.

Joter – a greeting.

Jukel – dog.

Kipsie – basket.

Kooshti – good.

Lliprynnod – weaklings.

Misto – all right.

Mokardo – depraved.

Mookerimungeri – tea.

Mumper – country tramp (tramps who overwinter in the country, as opposed to the town).

Posh-rat – also half-Romani – see didikai above.

Racklo – youth.

Rokker – to speak.

Rommer – to marry.

Rommerin – wedding.

Rovvel – wife.

Rye – gentleman.

Sappengro – snake charmer.

Shevengro – Romani chief.

Sho-sho – rabbit.

Sleevers – good-for-nothings.

Tan – tent.

Vardo – wagon, caravan.

Warfedo – low.

Yog – fire.

Caravans, by Eric Ravilous.
Caravans, by Eric Ravilous.

2 thoughts on “An Incomplete Romani Glossary.”

  1. lyn

    Some of these words are from different romani dialects. Tan is commonly used to refer for a house/place of living.

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