Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[gring-goh] /ˈgrɪŋ goʊ/
noun, plural gringos. Slang: Usually Disparaging and Offensive.
a term used in Latin America or Spain to refer to a foreigner, especially one of U.S. or British descent (sometimes used facetiously).
Origin of gringo
1840-50, Americanism; < Spanish: foreign language, foreigner, especially English-speaking (pejorative); probably alteration of griego Greek. The belief that word is from the song “Green Grow the Lilacs,” popular during U.S.-Mexican War, is without substance
Usage note
Use of this term implies that the foreigner is an outsider who does not understand or respect Hispanic culture or does not treat Hispanics well. However, gringo is sometimes used consciously for humorous effect, without intent to offend. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
British Dictionary definitions for gringo


noun (pl) -gos
a person from an English-speaking country: used as a derogatory term by Latin Americans
Word Origin
C19: from Spanish: foreigner, probably from griego Greek, hence an alien
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for gringo

1849, from Mexican Spanish gringo, contemptuous word for "foreigner," from Spanish gringo "foreign, unintelligible talk, gibberish," perhaps ultimately from griego "Greek." The "Diccionario Castellano" (1787) says gringo was used in Malaga for "anyone who spoke Spanish badly," and in Madrid for "the Irish."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
gringo in Culture

gringo definition

In Latin America, a foreigner, especially a North American or Englishman; usually a term of contempt.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for gringo



English people or Anglo-Americans: gringo, used contemptuously by Spanish-Americans (1849+)

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

Word of the Day

Nearby words for gringo

Difficulty index for gringo

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for gringo

Scrabble Words With Friends