Word Origin & History
1896, from Sp. flamenco, first used of Gypsy dancing in Andalusia. The word means "Fleming, native of Flanders" (Du. Vlaming) and also "flamingo." Speculation are varied and colorful about the connection between the bird, the people, and the gypsy dance of Andalusia. Spain ruled Flanders for many years,
and King Carlos I brought with him to Madrid an entire Flemish court. One etymology suggests the dance was so called from the bright costumes and energetic movements, which the Sp. associated with Flanders; another is that Spaniards, especially Andalusians, like to name things by their opposites, and since the Flemish were tall and blond and the gypsies short and dark, the gypsies were called "Flemish;" others hold that flamenco was the general Sp. word for all foreigners, gypsies included; or that Flemish noblemen, bored with court life, took to partying with the gypsies.