Eastern European nation, the name taken officially in 1861 at the union of the old lands of Wallachia and Moldavia, from Latin Romani "people from Rome," which was used to describe the descendants of colonists there from Roman times; see Roman + -ia. In late 19c., early 20c. often Rumania, or, from French, Roumania. Related: Romanian; Rumanian; Roumanian. In Middle English, Romanie was "the Roman Empire," from Latin Romania. Romanian in the sense of "of or pertaining to
Gypsies" is by 1841 (see Romany).