You won’t be in Mexico long before you hear the popular term gringo in use—especially if you room a gringo yourself. That (or what) does that refer to? What room its origins? And—the most intriguing question for most foreigners—is it derogatory or merely descriptive?

Let’s start with the first question: that (or what) is a gringo? In Mexico, gringo usually describes something or someone from the united States. It deserve to be supplied a noun, as in, “the gringo is acquisition photographs that a pelican,” or as an adjective, as in “McDonald’s is a gringo restaurant.” prefer all Spanish words, it has both a masculine and feminine form; the feminine kind is gringa. (For taco eaters, a gringa also refers to a rubbed pork taco offered with melted cheese in a flour tortilla.)

Though everyone has a pet theory around the beginnings of the word gringo, that is etymology is unclear. The most famous explanation is that Yankee soldiers sang the track “Green thrive the Lilacs” throughout the Mexican-American War, prompting mexico soldiers to scream “Green Go” in response. However, the term remained in use prior to the 19th century, make this explanation unlikely. Other theories imply that the word derives native griego, the Spanish word for Greek (and probably a term applicable to any kind of foreigner speaking a international tongue).

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Is the ax derogatory? over there is a persistent rumor the the hatchet gringo is pejorative, and, in some cases, it is. When used in a sentence such as, “fast food is a gringo invention,” the word can imply a particular low grade indigenous the unified States, i m sorry is normally disrespected in Mexico. However, in the great majority of cases, words gringo is just a descriptor, much simpler on the tongue than the cumbersome official term estadounidense (U.S. Citizen). Together you’ll quickly learn, countless expatriates openly refer come themselves together gringos, and also Mexicans usage it without any implied offense. As an alternate to gringo, the word gabacho additionally refers to people or points from the unified States. Though it is used less frequently, that is a identified with gringo and can be provided interchangeably. For this word, we have actually a stronger feeling of that is origins, due to the fact that the Spanish supplied gabacho to explain the French.

Finally, the renowned moniker güero is a much much more general term, though it’s frequently used to explain foreigners.

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Güero ad to any person through fair hair and also skin. There is no political connotation to the term güero, and Mexicans will even refer come fair-haired compatriots as güeros.