noun, plural cho·los. 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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cholo

Historical Examples of cholo

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