Gringo (1839)

Dennis R. Preston preston at MSU.EDU
Sat Dec 23 03:37:49 UTC 2006

When I lived in Hawai'i int he early 80's, locals
had trouble with what to call black folk. "Haole"
meant "white guy" but also meant "non-local," so
"black haole," since no local guys were black,
came to be a resolution.


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>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>Poster:       Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
>Subject:      Re: Gringo (1839)
>I was once chatting with an African-American acquaintance from
>Honduras and used the phrase, "norte-americano negro." He corrected
>this sneeringly to "_gringo_ negro." I'd long wondered whether
>"gringo" was reserved for white Anglos or whether it could also be
>used to refer to black Anglos. That answered my question, at least
>with respect to the practice of African-American Hondureˆ±os.
>On 12/21/06, Bapopik at <Bapopik at> wrote:
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>>  Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>  Poster:       Bapopik at AOL.COM
>>  Subject:      Gringo (1839)
>>  I don't have America's Historical Newspapers or 19th Century U.S. =20
>>  Newspapers. Any "gringo"?
>>  ...
>>  ...
>>  _
>>  (
>>  ...
>>  (Oxford English Dictionary)=20
>>  Gringo=20
>>  [Mexican Sp.] Among  Spanish Americans, a
>>contemptuous name for an Englishma=
>>  n=20
>>  or an Anglo-American.  Also attrib.=20
>>  1849 J. W. AUDUBON Western Jrnl. (1906) 13 June 100 We  were hooted and=20
>>  shouted at as we passed through, and called
>>=E2=80=98Gringoes=E2=80=99. 1871=
>>    Republican Rev.=20
>>  (Albuquerque, N.M.) 14 Jan. 2/2 Three Mexicans
>>from  Socorro..calling her a=20=
>>  gringo=20
>>  bitch, finally threw her on the body of her  husband.=20
>>  August 1839, Southern Literary Messenger,
>>=E2=80=9CA Journey  Across the And=
>>  es=E2=80=9D by=20
>>  W. B. H., pg. 514:=20
>>  My colleague had previously arranged  that
>>this challenge should be answered=
>>  =20
>>  by the officer of our boat, whose  Gringo
>>accent would prove that he was not=
>>   a=20
>>  Chilian.=20
>>  ------------------------------------------------------------
>>  The American Dialect Society -
>All say, "How hard it is that we have to die"---a strange complaint to
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>-Sam'l Clemens
>The American Dialect Society -

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Dennis R. Preston
University Distinguished Professor
Department of English
15-C Morrill Hall
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824-1036
Phone: (517) 353-4736
Fax: (517) 353-3755
preston at

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