HEN the 23rd edition of the Real Academia Española's dictionary was issued recently, members of Spain's Roma community protested the dictionary's definitions of gitano (Spanish for gypsy). The focus of the protest was an adjectival form that denotes defrauding, deceiving, or cheating, and this has been removed from the online edition. However, Roma activists have noted, the Academy retained the term trapacero (swindler) as a synonym listed under the headword gitano, which the Roma maintain is offensive and discriminatory. The Gypsy State People's Council remains unconvinced that this adjustment is sufficient, charging the Academy with "failing to remove derogatory definition of Gypsies"--Romareact.
Founded in 1713, the Academy's motto is Limpia, fija y da esplendor--To cleanse, fix and enhance (the language). For more detail on this matter, see the story by Ashifa Kassam (and Agence France-Presse) in the October 29 2014 Guardian, "Spain’s oldest dictionary under fire for equating ‘gypsy’ with ‘cheat,’" and the October 16 2015 Guardian article, "Spain dictionary row: Gypsy 'swindlers' definition clarified as being offensive."
Thanks to Lise Winer for alerting us to this story and sending along the clipping from the Montréal Gazette: