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[choh-loh] /ˈtʃoʊ loʊ/
noun, plural cholos. Chiefly Southwestern U.S.
(especially among Mexican-Americans) a teenage boy who is a member of a street gang.
Usually Disparaging. a term used to refer to a Mexican or Mexican-American.
a mestizo of Spanish America.
Origin of cholo
1850-55; < Mexican Spanish: mestizo, peasant, allegedly shortening of Cholollán (< Nahuatl Cholōllān, modern Cholula), a city-state in pre-conquest Mexico
Usage note
When used of a Mexican or Mexican-American, the term cholo usually refers to an immigrant who is considered to be low-class and inferior. However, cholo is also a term of self-reference used by Mexican-American youths. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for cholo
Historical Examples
Contemporary definitions for cholo

mestizo or lower-class Mexican or Latin American

Usage Note

derogatory; feminine is chola's 21st Century Lexicon
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Word Origin and History for cholo


"Indian or mixed-race person of Latin America" (fem. Chola), 1851, from American Spanish (c.1600), said to be from Nahuatl (Aztec) xolotl "dog, mutt." Proposed derivation from Mexican city of Cholula seems too late, if this is the same word. In U.S., used of lower-class Mexican immigrants, but by 1970s the word began to be embraced in Latino gang slang in a positive sense.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for cholo



Very virile; macho (1970s+)


A fellow gang member: A cholo (streetwise young Latino male) (1980s+ Prison)

[fr Spanish, literally ''mestizo, half-breed,'' used contemptuously of a lower-class Mexican]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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