etymology of chicano

Gregory McNamee gm at GREGORYMCNAMEE.COM
Tue Apr 23 14:43:11 UTC 2013

The explanation advanced down here in Arizona, where the word *chicano* probably originated and is first attested, is that it's a slangy shortening of *mexicano*, "Mexican." In some areas the *x* is pronounced "sh," which usually becomes "ch" in word-initial position. The pronunciation varies from "chicano" to "shicano," though, and I've seen it spelled *xicano*, which better reveals its etymology.

That's the way I've heard it, anyway. OED agrees, with first attestation in 1947.

The American Dialect Society -

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