In Romani culture, a gadjo (feminine: gadji) is a person who has no Romanipen. This usually corresponds to not being an ethnic Romani, but it can also be an ethnic Romani who does not live within Romani culture.
It is used by Romanies to address or denote outsiderneighbors living within or very near their community.
Romanies of Western Europe and the Americas often interpret gadjos as "impure" because they consider that only those following Romani Code are "pure".
The exact origin of the word is not known. One theory considers that the word comes from the proto-Romani word for "peasant" and has the same root as the Romani word "gav" (a village). Romani ancestors were nomadic musicians and craftspeople; they did not live in villages. In the Latin world, the derived gachó and gachí, after passing through Caló, have come to mean "man, lover" and "woman, girl".
The slang word 'Gadgie', widely used in Ulster, Scotland and North East England, is another form of the original Romani word. It has taken on the reverse meaning in that it refers to someone from the 'gypsy' or Romany community. This may have come about because of people hearing the original usage and associating the word with those who used it. By extension the word has taken on a derogatory meaning similar to Chav or Ned.
'Gadjo' is also used as a slang word in France, notably in the south where it carries the same meaning as 'Gadgie'
An alternate form of "Gadjo" is "Gajo" (pronounced GA-ju), which is extensively used as a slang word in Portugal, although here meaning "man/guy" mostly in a derrogatory sense. Also used is the female "gaja" (pronounced GA-jah), although carrying a bleaker connotation as in the English/American "skank/bitch".
The Bulgarian word "гадже" (pronounced GA-djeh), neuter gender, means 'boyfriend' or 'girlfriend' and is the most widely used word with this meaning.
Romanian nouns "gagic" and "gagică" mean "boyfriend" and "girlfriend", but they may also mean "guy" and "girl".
- Gadjo dilo ("The crazy gadjo") is a French-Romanian film about a Frenchman who travels to Romania after a Romani musician.
- Lev Tcherenkov, Stephan Laederich "The Rroma"
- Raymond Buckland "Gypsy Witchcraft & Magic"
- Caravan goes away in Russian
- Excerpts from Roma by WR Rishi: ETYMOLOGY OF THE WORD "GAJO" http://web.archive.org/web/20080514005741/http://www.romani.org/rishi/retygajo.html
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