[Ads-l] Antedating of "Wetback"

Shapiro, Fred fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Sat Feb 15 12:51:23 UTC 2020

wetback (OED 1929)

1920 _San Antonio Evening News_ 20 Mar. 11/6 (Newspapers.com)  The other 50 per cent [of Mexican immigrants] are known as "wetbacks," a slang term applied generally to all who are smuggled across the river because of the popularity of swimming the Rio Grande as a means of smugging themselves across the river.

Fred Shapiro

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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