or chi·ca·no

[ chi-kah-noh, -kan-oh ]
/ tʃɪˈkɑ noʊ, -ˈkæn oʊ /
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of or relating to Mexican Americans or their culture.
noun, plural Chi·ca·nos.
a Mexican American.


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Compare Chicana, Chican@, Chicanx. See also la raza.

Origin of Chicano

First recorded in 1960–65; from Mexican Spanish, by shortening and alteration of mexicano Mexican

historical usage of Chicano

See Latinx.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does Chicano mean?

A Chicano is a person who is Mexican American. In other words, it’s someone of Mexican descent who was born in or now lives in the United States, as in Although Jorge loves living in the United States, he remains a proud Chicano, frequently visiting his Mexican hometown.

Chicano is also used as an adjective to describe Mexican American people or things involving them or their culture, as in Rosa loved Chicano food so much that she became a chef and opened a popular Chicano restaurant. 

Chicano comes from Mexican Spanish, a language that uses gendered nouns. Chicano is the masculine form, while Chicana is the feminine form. Chican@ and Chicanx are sometimes used as gender-neutral forms.

As with any term that refers to a person’s identity, it is best to ask the person what term they prefer to identify themselves with. Even if a person fits the dictionary definition of Chicano, they might prefer to be identified by another term, such as Mexican American, American, Mexican, Hispanic, or Latino.

Example: The ad campaign was targeted at the city’s large Chicano population, who were proud of their Mexican heritage.

Where does Chicano come from?

The first records of Chicano come from around 1960. It comes from Mexican Spanish by shortening and altering the word mexicano, meaning “Mexican.”

In particular, Chicano was used during the Chicano Movement of the 1960s, which emphasized a Mexican American identity and brought attention to the oppression and discrimination of Mexican Americans. The term la raza, which refers to Mexicans and Mexican Americans, was also used during this time.

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What are some synonyms for Chicano?

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How is Chicano used in real life?

Chicano is used to refer to Americans of Mexican descent and their culture.

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True or False?

The word Chicano comes from the word mexicano.

How to use Chicano in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for Chicano

/ (tʃɪˈkɑːnəʊ) /

noun plural -nos
an American citizen of Mexican origin

Word Origin for chicano

C20: from Spanish mejicano Mexican
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