The word “Gitano” (masculine, singular; "Gitana" feminine singular), derived from Egyptano, literally meaning “Gypsy” in Spanish, is a term which Roma in Spain generally use to refer to themselves. It should be noted that term “Gitano” carries much less pejorative connotation than in other languages. After King Charlles III’s 1783 Act, the use of the word with regards to the Roma as an ethnic group became prohibited due to the imposed idea of a new citizenship based on equality, however, in artistic circles the use of word "Gitano" became very common in a positive way, linked to certain idea of artistic capacity and pureness.

Colloquially, the word "Gitano" can be used as an adjective, with regards to someone graceful, with artistic inclinations or capacity to influence others. "Gitano" can also be used as an offensive adjective, meaning swindler, someone who willingly deceives others. To confront this use, there is an ongoing campaing lead by some Romani acivists and organisation to contextualise and/or delete altogether the pejorative use of the word in the official dictionary of the Spanish language (RAE). Nonetheless, the term "Gitano" is widely used in policy-making, scholarship and as a self-denomination of Spanish Roma population.

Anna Mirga-Kruszelnicka, Miguel Angel Vargas, Gonzalo Montano Pena