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[gring-goh] /ˈgrɪŋ goʊ/
noun, plural gringos. Slang: Usually Disparaging and Offensive.
a term used in Latin America or Spain to refer to a foreigner, especially one of U.S. or British descent (sometimes used facetiously).
Origin of gringo
1840-50, Americanism; < Spanish: foreign language, foreigner, especially English-speaking (pejorative); probably alteration of griego Greek. The belief that word is from the song “Green Grow the Lilacs,” popular during U.S.-Mexican War, is without substance
Usage note
Use of this term implies that the foreigner is an outsider who does not understand or respect Hispanic culture or does not treat Hispanics well. However, gringo is sometimes used consciously for humorous effect, without intent to offend. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for gringo
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He disliked all gringos, but this gringo he hated with an immediacy that was unusual even in him.

    The Night-Born Jack London
  • gringo pig of a spy, you shall die and be fed to the buzzards!

    Uncle Sam Detective William Atherton Du Puy
  • Never would she have further to do with the gringo who spoke such words.

    The Night-Born Jack London
  • In his arroyo again, he proposed to make the gringo as a sieve.

    The Missourian Eugene P. (Eugene Percy) Lyle
  • Yet our friend the gringo rides away in safety and laughs at you both.

    Steve Yeager William MacLeod Raine
  • The general wants the gringo to cut out his heart and liver.

    Steve Yeager William MacLeod Raine
  • He was officer of the guard, and had a curiosity as to how a gringo about to be shot would act.

    The Missourian Eugene P. (Eugene Percy) Lyle
  • Even this gringo he despised, and him had he found the whitest gringo of them all.

    The Night-Born Jack London
British Dictionary definitions for gringo


noun (pl) -gos
a person from an English-speaking country: used as a derogatory term by Latin Americans
Word Origin
C19: from Spanish: foreigner, probably from griego Greek, hence an alien
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for gringo

1849, from Mexican Spanish gringo, contemptuous word for "foreigner," from Spanish gringo "foreign, unintelligible talk, gibberish," perhaps ultimately from griego "Greek." The "Diccionario Castellano" (1787) says gringo was used in Malaga for "anyone who spoke Spanish badly," and in Madrid for "the Irish."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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gringo in Culture

gringo definition

In Latin America, a foreigner, especially a North American or Englishman; usually a term of contempt.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for gringo



English people or Anglo-Americans: gringo, used contemptuously by Spanish-Americans (1849+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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