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90s Slang You Should Know


[dey-goh] /ˈdeɪ goʊ/
noun, plural dagos, dagoes. (often initial capital letter) Slang: Extremely Disparaging and Offensive.
a contemptuous term used to refer to a person of Italian or sometimes Spanish origin or descent.
Origin of dago
1715-25, Americanism; alteration of Diego < Spanish: a given name Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for dagoes
Historical Examples
  • The schooner's crew were four dagoes—deserters from some ship.

    The Call Of The South Louis Becke
  • So we sat, dry, upon the stools, listening to the dagoes fiddling on deck.

    The Four Million

    O. Henry
  • He was a big blue-eyed fellow, full of fun and fight, with a good natured contempt of the dagoes, and was a born leader.

    One Way Out William Carleton
  • The gang of dagoes got aboard, too, the general and me in the front car.

  • Down on the lower deck was a gang of second-class passengers, about forty of them, seemin' to be dagoes and the like.

  • What had he, a British subject, to do with those dagoes who spoil the profession?

    The Bill-Toppers Andre Castaigne
  • Why, what do you usually do when a British subject is stripped and beaten by a lot of dirty dagoes?

    The King of Alsander James Elroy Flecker
  • It's close in along with them dagoes, an' the fresh air will fresh Mrs. Cheyne up.

    "Captains Courageous" Rudyard Kipling
  • Why let a floating gang of dagoes take so big a bunch of it back to sunny Italy?

  • "We are in a nest of the dagoes," cried young Potter, rather wildly.

    A Gunner Aboard the "Yankee" Russell Doubleday
British Dictionary definitions for dagoes


noun (pl) -gos, -goes
(derogatory) a member of a Latin race, esp a Spaniard or Portuguese
Word Origin
C19: alteration of Diego, a common Spanish name
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for dagoes



1823, from Spanish Diego "James." Originally used of Spanish or Portuguese sailors on English or American ships; by 1900 it had broadened to include non-sailors and shifted to mean chiefly "Italian." James the Greater is the patron saint of Spain, and Diego as generic for "a Spaniard" is attested from 1610s.

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





  1. An Italian or person of Italian descent; First used chiefly of Hispanics; noted as ''chiefly Italians'' by 1900: Hey, Fiorello, you're a dago
  2. The Italian language
  3. A person of Hispanic birth or descent

[1823+; fr Diego, ''James'' used in the 17th century to mean ''Spaniard'']

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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