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90s Slang You Should Know


[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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for cholo
Historical Examples
  • And when a cholo got his time and left the line, he showed him the way he was to go.

    Alec Lloyd, Cowpuncher Eleanor Gates
  • The cholo who took food to Perez and that German dog has brought me a message.

    The Treasure Trail Marah Ellis Ryan
  • I trusted to an old 'cholo' here; he said he'd stow me away where all creation couldn't find me.

    There She Blows! William Hussey Macy
  • The cholo leads us into South America, where for the present; we leave it.

    Opuscula Robert Gordon Latham
  • I told cholo Sam and Maria to clean up some rooms for you and try and make things halfway decent.

    The Heart of Canyon Pass Thomas K. Holmes
  • At the corral the two young men saw at a glance that the girls ponies had not been returned by cholo Sam.

    The Heart of Canyon Pass Thomas K. Holmes
  • cholo was succeeded by Pinikahti, who was half Indian and half Mexican.

  • cholo Sam and Maria were at the door of the hotel, looking down the street eagerly and anxiously.

    The Heart of Canyon Pass Thomas K. Holmes
  • As he descended the stairs, cholo Sam came from the barroom with a filled flask in his hand.

    The Heart of Canyon Pass Thomas K. Holmes
  • cholo Sam brought up a steaming pot of coffee, his dark face expanded with delight.

    The Heart of Canyon Pass Thomas K. Holmes
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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