Many theories have been expounded on the origin of gringo. The word has been a contemptuous label for any foreigner by Spaniards who vociferously complained that all foreign accents and dialects sounded like griego, or Greek. It was the Mexican way of saying that foreign languages sounded like gibberish, as in "It's Greek to me." Griego, slightly altered, became gringo, and it was applied not only to the language but also to the speaker, who became the gringo.
   A more romantic story, but one not fully attested, is that during the Mexican War the troops of General Winfield and General Zachary sang as they marched, as soldiers are apt to do, and their favorite song was repeated so often that the Mexican natives thought that from its first two words they had picked up an expression in English: gringo. The opening lines of the song by Robert Burns were
Green grow the Rashes O
The happiest hours that ere I spent
Were spent among the lasses O.
   One authority claimed that green coat was the basis for the term. But some say that it referred to Major Samuel Ringgold, a brilliant strategist who was mortally wounded in the battle of Palo Alto in 1846. It was said that Ringgold's name was so mispronounced that it sounded like gringo. None of these theories have a foundation in fact, because the word had long antedated the Mexican War. According to the Diccionario Castellano of P. Esteban de Terreros Pando, published in 1787, gringo was an established word. The dictionary, in Spanish, contained the following: "In Malaga, they call Gringoes those foreigners who have a certain type of accent which keeps them from speaking Spanish easily and naturally; and in Madrid they give the same name, and for the ,same reason, particularly to the Irish."

Dictionary of eponyms. . 2013.

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  • Gringo — (feminine, gringa ) is a Spanish and Portuguese word used in Latin America to denote foreign non native speakers of Spanish (regardless of race), especially English speakers from the British Isles, and Americans, Canadians, Australians, and New… …   Wikipedia

  • gringo — [ griŋgo ] n. et adj. • 1899; mot esp. d Amérique du Sud ♦ Péj. Américain des États Unis, anglo saxon, pour les Latino Américains. Les gringos. ● gringo nom masculin (espagnol gringo) Péjoratif. Nom donné, par les Mexicains, à un étranger… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • gringo — (n.) 1849, from Mex.Sp. gringo, contemptuous word for foreigner, from Sp. gringo foreign, unintelligible talk, gibberish, perhaps ultimately from griego Greek. The Diccionario Castellano (1787) says gringo was used in Malaga for anyone who spoke… …   Etymology dictionary

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  • Gringo — Grin go, n. [Amer. Sp., fr. Sp. gringo gibberish; cf. griego Greek, F. grigou wretch.] Among Spanish Americans, a foreigner, especially an American or sometimes an Englishman; often used disparagingly or as a term of reproach. [Webster 1913 Suppl …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • gringo — / griŋo/, it. / gringo/ s.m., sp. [etimo incerto] (pl. gringos ), spreg. [epiteto dato nell America Latina a coloro che non appartengono alla comunità, spec. ai nordamericani] ▶◀ forestiero, straniero …   Enciclopedia Italiana

  • gringo — s. m. [Depreciativo] Designação dada a estrangeiros, em especial a norte americanos.   ‣ Etimologia: espanhol gringo …   Dicionário da Língua Portuguesa

  • gringo — {{hw}}{{gringo}}{{/hw}}(spreg.) Per gli abitanti dell America latina, forestiero di madrelingua non spagnola, spec. inglese o nordamericano …   Enciclopedia di italiano

  • gringo — gringo, ga adjetivo y sustantivo 1) (persona) extranjero, inglés, norteamericano*, americano, yanqui, estadounidense, angloamericano*. sustantivo masculino 2) griego …   Diccionario de sinónimos y antónimos

  • gringo — grȉngo m DEFINICIJA podr. naziv za neromanske doseljenike u Južnoj i Srednjoj Americi; stranac ETIMOLOGIJA amer.engl. ← šp …   Hrvatski jezični portal

  • gringo — gringo, ga adjetivo,sustantivo masculino y femenino 1. Origen: América. Pragmática: peyorativo, afectivo. De los Estados Unidos. 2. Origen: Argentina, Perú, Uruguay. [Persona …   Diccionario Salamanca de la Lengua Española

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