Is the word Gringo offensive??

As Mexicans, we tend to give nicknames to everyone and to pretty much anything. It’s part of our culture and our way of having fun.

But since I moved to the USA, I’ve noticed that some people can get offended if someone calls them gingo/gringa.

My main intention with this post is that I want to try to explain its roots since seems like no one really knows from where it came from.

Usually, in Mexico, the use of the word gringo indicates that the person or group of people that we are talking about was born in the USA without indicating, race, ethnicity or in a way to offend anyone.

POSTER PANCHO VILLA I WANT YOU GRINGO
POSTER PANCHO VILLA I WANT YOU GRINGO. Photo from: Worth Point

Possible origin

There’s no clear origin for the word gringo, but its believed that could have been one of the following situations:

Battle of The Alamo, Texas (1836).

During this battle, the Mexicans were shouting out to the US soldiers to leave by using the words: GREEN GO!!.

This came from the thought that American soldiers were wearing green uniforms when in fact they were wearing blue.

The word gringo remained as part of our language.

US-Mexico war (1845-1847) .

It said that the American soldiers were singing the song “Green Grow the Lilacs” and the word gringo was the result of the deformation of the language.

On the other hand, it was also during this war that the word gringo could’ve been born.

People say that the American battalions were identified by different color names, and when it was their turn to attack, their commander will say the color name plus the word go.

As a result, someone that might have been nearby and heard the order given to the green battalion could have been misinterpreted.

Therefore, they probably thought it was a way to name the American soldiers without knowing that in reality, the commander was just saying the battalion’s color.


Hey Gringo Poster. Photo from : Own Mexico

I guess what I am trying to say it’s: regardless of how the word was born (as I mentioned it before), it has no intention what so ever to insult or offend anyone in any way.

We Mexicans say it just because.

Peace and Love!!!

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