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1947, from Mexican Spanish dialectal pronunciation of Mexicano "Mexican," with loss of initial unaccented syllable [Barnhart]. Said to have been in use among Mexican-Americans from c.1911. Probably influenced by Spanish chico "boy," also used as a nickname. The adjective in English is attested by 1967. Fem. form is Chicana.
Mexican-Americans; short for the Spanish word mexicanos, which is sometimes pronounced mechicanos. In recent years, Latino and Latina have become more widely used to describe Hispanic-Americans in general.