generic Gypsy

Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Sat Jun 29 14:34:32 UTC 2013

OED has no generic generalized version of Gypsy. The main entries are
associated with Romani (1.a-e.), cunning (2.a-b.), US independent
truckers (2.c, but no "gypsy cabs") and various compounds (3.). Nothing
related to generic nomads, wandering people, etc., not even the usual
"transf. and fig.".

But consider the referent in this article:
Among the Moken, the Sea Gypsies of Myeik
> So began my six-day journey in search of the Moken, the elusive sea
> gypsies of Myanmar’s far south.
> ...
> Despite their long presence in this area, however, the Moken are
> rapidly losing their way of life under pressure from the environmental
> impact of fishing and logging. To survive, they have had to adapt to
> modern life while still clinging to what’s left of their culture.
> For most of the year, the Moken live at sea, on boats known as kabang
> that are carved from a single tree. Their entire lives revolve around
> these hand-hewn vessels, which are not only a means of transportation,
> but also their homes. And as the terms for describing the parts of
> these boats attest, they are seen almost as living things, complete
> with a mouth, cheeks, neck, shoulders, ribs and even anus.
> ...
> If the kabang is their home, then their backyard is the sea. ...

There is also an example of "no word for X":

> In their own language, they have no word for “worry,” but these days,
> they have good reason to worry if their culture will survive another
> generation.


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