Photo by Miguel Gonzalez on Unsplash

gringo (n.)

Term for a European or Anglo-American, 1847, from American Spanish gringo "foreigner," from Spanish gringo "foreign speech, 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." Hence the American Spanish verb engringarse "to act like a foreigner."

With all of the current discussion on woke-ism and racism, I thought I'd delve into the history of some of these terms and how they came about.

Kind of interesting that gringo (which I have been called quite a bit in my part of the country in a friendly, comradely way) comes for gibberish.

And even after having Spanish in grades 1-6, 8, and 11, I am still a gringo when it comes to my Spanish conversational skills.

Randy Salars

Randy Salars

Copywriter and marketing consultant. Author of ‘Stories And Recipes From The Soup Kitchen.’ Freedom lover, adventurer, and treasure hunter.
Silver City, NM, USA