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English translation of 'gringo'

In the US, "gringo" is usually understood as a disparaging reference to a foreigner see the Merriam-Webster definition. What exactly does gringo mean in Spanish? Is it neutral, or does it have disparaging connotations? When is it considered offensive?

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What regional variations are there on the word's use? What's its origin? It applied first to language, but soon after also to those who spoke it.


The earliest recorded use of gringo is from , in Esteban de Terreros y Pando, Diccionario castellano , Madrid, published in , but completed in , quoted in Origen , p. Gringo , Antonio de Capmany y Montpalu, Madrid, ; entries hebreu and parler :. Lenguaje que no se entiende. But already in those days there were folk etymologies around.

For instance B. He explains however that:. That Portuguese-speakers were spared the epithet is also confirmed in by D. Daniel Granada, Vocabulario Rioplatense Razonado :. Por lo regular usase sustantivado. Griego, en la fr. Brazilians appear not to have returned the kindness when they imported the word in the s, and it looks as though they initially used it especially for Argentines, but now it applies to any foreigner.

In Portugal the word is known as a Mexican word for U. It was said first of the language and immediately of those who spoke it. Gringo , Greek: it is said of what is said or written that cannot be understood. So when people in America started seeing Englishmen for the first time and would not understand their language, they would say that they spoke in gringo , and so it is that people, in Chile as in Venezuela, in Buenos Aires as in Mexico, call all foreigners gringos whether they come from Leipzig or Copenhagen.

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  4. So it is not used for Hispano-Americans, Brazilians, or the Portuguese. It is usually used as a noun. Griego, in the fig. In Argentina, the word gringo was quite used in the past not so much today, I'd say , especially in the inland, but with some ambiguity. Generally it pointed to people with "foreign" aspect not from Spain or native , presumably anglo saxon, specially english, blonde hair and pale-rosy skin, etc.

    But it was also applied sometimes to some Italian immigrants. Not pejorative at all, in my experience. It was even sometimes applied, affectionately, to local people that had some traces of that appearance, even if they were fully criollos ; similarly as the word negro was used for slightly dark-skinned members of the family I myself recall some uncles and cousins At the time, the word gringo was already known:.

    You can find the whole text here for those interested in reading it. Wikipedia in its article gringo mentions that the word had been known since the 18 th century:. All these folk etymologies place the origin of the word gringo in the 19th century. This is a problem because the word has been documented from the 18th century, including the Diccionario castellano con las voces de Ciencias y Artes y sus correspondientes en las 3 lenguas francesa, latina e italiana by Esteban de Terreros y Pando, and South American literature.

    As far as the meaning, I would concur that in Latin America is used to refer to anyone with white skin, blond hair, green or blue eyes and a "peculiar" pronunciation of the Spanish language, regardless of his nationality. In high school, I was taught that during the Vietnam war, the word gringo was used by the Vietnamese to tell the american soldiers, whose uniforms where olive green, to go home; hence the word gringo: green-go go home, presumably.

    I doubt that this is true but I thought I'd mention it. I was told not sure if this is real fact that the word itself came from the phrase Green go! I researched the origin of the word "gringo" when I was in graduate school after one of my professors offered the silly "green-go" myth as the explanation. The term has clearly been in use for centuries to describe non-Spanish people. The most widely accepted theory among etymologists was that the word was derived from "griego," the Spanish word for Greek. According to the theory, the preponderance of Greek sailors in the Mediterranean meant that Greeks were the most common foreigners that were present in Spain in the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance era.

    Over time, the word came to be applied to all people of non-Spanish origin, and was corrupted from "griego" to "gringo. I'm pretty sure it refers to something like a Caucasian and naive American, or any American Caucasian in general. Etymology isn't quite clear, but it's generally agreed that it's originates from Mexico or Central America.

    Meaning varies, and may mean:. Merriam-Webster definition is incorrect, as word gringo is not used in Spain. Somewhat analogous term used in Spain would be guiri , which means foreign tourist, especially from northern Europe. I worked and lived in medellin for 2 years and despised the word..

    Everyone one in my office knew it and respected me feelings and never used it…. We allow a whole country to disrespect us as americans … yes i understand they do not mean to disrespect us but they are! Latin Americans who live in Europe refer to their hosts as gringos, which destroys their idea of it meaning foreigners! This is why Colombia will always be 3rd world and will always have conflict.. There is NO respect in the country!

    There is another word that sparks angry and disrespect as well. The difference is. Everyone chill with the word gringo. It is used to refer to Americans all over Latin America. It can be used with disrespect, but most do not use it for that.

    English Translation of “gringo” | Collins Spanish-English Dictionary

    Maybe it would be better to do a post on the word. Oh really Andrew. Did you think we were too stupid to know that already? As for my reply to the post by Andrew, I was trying to point out that he was being patronising, by providing information that we were already aware of. I have not called anyone stupid, and my comments have been in no way offensive. Perhaps you should be pointing your warning at the author of the article.

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    • Trends of 'gringo'.

    What exactly does he mean in this context? When latin Americans, or any other nationality or culture, make errors in English do we use perjorative words to describe them?

    Trends of 'gringo'

    If you have any interest in other cultures and, especially, traveling, this is really worth doing. On a very similar note I have a four-page list of common Spanish conversation connectors that someone else put together into a PDF that you can read or download here. Other than my book , I recommend you check out some categories containing several posts I have on here that are relevant:. A great way to do this is via online classes where the native speaker is the teacher. I personally can recommend a service called GoSpanish this is my review of them , having tried it myself.

    I have a whole method and a book I wrote about it called The Telenovela Method where I teach you how to learn Spanish from popular media like TV shows, movies, music, books, etc.

    Gringo Viejo (Spanish Edition)

    It was the 1 new release in the Spanish Language Instruction section on Amazon for nearly a month after it came out and currently has 17 reviews there with a 4. Sign up below. I have whole series of emails many series! Here are the most common Spanish mistakes that English-speakers make and how to fix them:. Check out the following short video for some help: 2.

    The five most common ones, in my experience, are: Actualmente. One of the ways we do that is searching for equivalents to our favorite words and expressions, and then insisting on using them.

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    These look like they have to do with deception — they do not, they have to do with dissapointment.