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Origin of mayo
Words nearby mayo
Definition for mayo (2 of 2)
ABOUT THIS WORD
What else does mayo mean?
Typically, mayo is short for mayonnaise, a classic condiment made of oil, vinegar, and egg yolks.
When not, it can also be used as offensive language against white people or a slang term for drugs.
Content warning: the following article deals with content related to illicit drugs and offensive and disparaging language.
Where did the term mayo come from?
It’s not exactly clear where mayonnaise comes from or how it got its name. An early 19th-century traveler to Paris mentions a chicken dish containing mayonnaise but doesn’t give the recipe. It’s one of the earliest attestations we have to the condiment.
Whatever its ultimate origin, mayonnaise is recorded in English as early as 1815 as borrowed from French. The condiment quickly became popular around the world. By 1930, mayonnaise was informally shortened to mayo, and is commonly referred to as such today.
Mayo began being used as a slang for drugs as early as the 1940s, becoming commonplace by the 1990s–particularly in reference to cocaine but also heroin or morphine. The nickname may have been inspired by the white color of the condiment, but it’s also a possible corruption of the name yayo, a Latin American term for cocaine.
Mayo, as slang for drugs, also appears in hip-hop songs from the 1990s. This expression appears to have largely dropped out of use by the early 2000s, however. By at least 2000, mayonnaise–occasionally shortened to mayo–emerged as offensive language against white people, presumably a riff on the condiment’s color.
Who uses the term mayo?
Calling mayonnaise mayo is very widespread in the English-speaking world.
Occasionally, mayo is still used as slang for cocaine or heroin.
Mayo, when used as a disparaging term for white people, is most common in Black American slang, although its use is not extremely widespread.
Sometimes it’s used as an adjective in conjunction with other words, such as mayo ho, in order to create the perfect, sandwich-ready burn.
More examples of mayo:
“The sales data that the Wall Street Journal relied upon only took egg-based mayo into consideration, while ignoring the explosion in egg-free mayo.”
—Ari Levaux, Shepherd Express, December 2018
This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.
Example sentences from the Web for mayo
Mayo, a fifth-round pick by the Panthers in 2015, spent the past two seasons with the New York Giants, starting 15 games and totaling 100 tackles, two sacks, a forced fumble and recovery and two passes defensed in that span.New Washington QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, no stranger to first days, is eager for latest chance|Nicki Jhabvala|March 18, 2021|Washington Post
Mayo is even willing to do the storage and deliver daily shipments to other hospitals on a need-by-need basis.How hospitals are prioritizing who to give COVID vaccines to first|Sy Mukherjee|December 15, 2020|Fortune
In her struggle to find her daughter, Esther becomes one of the founders of the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo.
Tamara Loertscher went to the Eau Claire Mayo Clinic in early August when she thought she was pregnant.States Slap Pregnant Women With Harsher Jail Sentences|Emily Shire|December 12, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Though the math gets a little fuzzy from here, Mayo Shattuck divorced his wife of almost 20 years, Jennifer, in 1995.From Baltimore Ravens Cheerleader to Mrs. Robinson|Brandy Zadrozny|November 6, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Photographer Virginia Mayo has been documenting the town for more than a decade.Graffiti Saved This Belgian Ghost Town from Government Bulldozers|Nina Strochlic|June 20, 2014|DAILY BEAST
However, according to the Mayo Clinic, 75 percent of VBAC attempts are successful.
They landed at Killala, in Mayo, and were not a little surprised at the state of things existing there.Is Ulster Right?|Anonymous
He was born in County Mayo, Ireland, in 1824, and received the rudiments of education in his native town.History of Prince Edward Island|Duncan Campbell
Gid turned into a road leading to the right, and looking back he saw that Mayo was riding straight ahead.
If we had settled upon killing that fellow Mayo, everything would have been all right.
All day Wash Sanders and his men had been sitting about, speculating, with but one stir of excitement, the boom of Mayo's cannon.