!Ask a Mexican! Glossary

The Mexican explains it all

Dear Gabachos,

Bienvenidos to ¡Ask a Mexican!, the world's foremost authority on America's favorite beaners! The Mexican can answer any and every question on his race, from why Mexicans stick the Virgin of Guadalupe everywhere to our obsession with dwarves and transvestites. In the course of his answers, The Mexican will use certain terms and phrases for better-rounded answers. Here are the most-used:

¡: An upside-down exclamation point. Put in front of an exclamatory sentence.

Mark Dancey illustration
Mark Dancey illustration

¿: An upside-down question mark. Put in front of a question.

˜: A tilde. Put over the letter n from time to time to produce a sound that sounds like "nyuck." The only such occurrence of such a sound in the world.

Aztlán: The mythical birthplace of the Aztecs. Chicanos use this term to describe the Southwest United States. Chicanos are idiots.

Baboso: A slug. Can also mean "asshole."

Burrito: A flour tortilla wrapped around various goodies. Also a slur used against Mexicans. Contrary to popular belief, not a Mexican dish—burritos originated in the United States. So when you call a Mexican a burrito, you're actually calling them an American.

Cabrón: Literally, a castrated goat. Mexicans understand it better as "asshole."

Chica caliente: Hot chick. All Mexican ladies are chicas calientes.

Chicano: The poorer, stupider, more assimilated cousins of Mexicans. Otherwise known as a Mexican-American.

Chingar: To fuck. Its various tenses are used for a delightful array of insults like chingadera ("fucked-up situation"), chingazos ("punches thrown") and chinga tu madre, cabrón ("Go fuck your mother, asshole")

Chino: Literally "Chinese," but the catch-all phrase Mexicans use for Asians regardless of nationality.

Chúntaro: A Mexican redneck. Term used mostly by Mexicans against each other.

Cinco de Mayo: Holiday celebrating an obscure battle between the French and Mexicans in the 1860s that everyone in the United States uses as an excuse to get plastered. Our St. Patrick's Day.
 
Conquest, The: Refers to the Spanish conquest of the Americas during the 1500s. Centuries later, Mexicans still can't get over it—but having about 100 million of your ancestors slaughtered will do that to you.

Los Estados Unidos: "The United States" in Spanish. Come on—that one's not that difficult to decipher, ¿que no?

Familia: Guess. You're right: family! If you believe the mainstream media, the most important thing in Mexican culture after tequila.

Gabacho: A gringo. But Mexicans don't call gringos gringos. Only gringos call gringos gringos. Mexicans call gringos "gabachos."

Gringo: Mexican slang for a white American. What gringos call gringos.

Guatemalan: The Germans had the Irish; the Irish had the Italians; the Italians had the Poles. Mexicans have the Guatemalans—our eternal punch-line.

Güey: Derived from "buey"—an ox, but means "ass," as in a hoofed ass, not an ass ass.

Joto: Faggot. A preferred male slur.

La Raza Cósmica: "The Cosmic Race." Refers to a movement by Mexican intellectuals during the 1920s arguing Mexicans have the blood of all the world's races—white, black, Indian and Asian—and therefore transcend the world.

Madre: Means "mother," but is also one of the most vulgar words in Mexican Spanish. In its various forms, can mean anything to "kick your ass" to "suck my dick."

Malinche: The name of the Indian woman who served as a translator for the Spaniards as they slaughtered their way to the Aztecs during the Conquest. Mexicans turn her name into a noun—malinchista—that's a synonym for "traitor." Typical Mexico—blames everything on women.

Mexicano: The greatest race of people in the world—when they're in the United States. In Mexico, they're just Mexicans.

Mexicanidad: Mexican-ness. Ridiculous translation for a ridiculous concept.

Naco: Mexico City slang for a chúntaro.

Norte, El: The North. The United States.

Otro Lado, El: The other side. Otherwise known as the United States.

Pendejo: Literally, a pubic hair. Means "asshole" in Mexican Spanish. So many synonyms for asshole, Mexican Spanish has!

Piñata: A toy that Mexicans beat to spill forth goodies stuffed inside. Otherwise known as the United States.

Pinche: Adjective meaning "fucking."

Pinche puto pendejo baboso: Literally means "fucking faggot pubic hair slug" but understood by Mexicans as "fucking stupid-ass asshole." The best Mexican cursing couplet of them all.

Pocho: An Americanized Mexican.

Por Favor: "Please" in Spanish.

Puro: Pure. Put it in front of any word to come off as a braggart—a Mexican!

Puto/Puta: The former means "faggot," the latter is "female whore." One of the most popular Mexican Spanish curse words.

¿Que no?: Ending phrase used in Mexican Spanish to denote "right?"

Reconquista: Theory espoused by Chicano and conservative kooks insisting that Mexico is trying to take over the southwest United States, the territory the Yankees took from Mexico as spoils after the 1846 Mexican-American War.

SanTana: Santa Ana, California, from where ¡Ask a Mexican! originates. The most-Latino big city in the United States, according to the 2000 Census. Please pronounce the city like the natives: "SanTana," like the famous guitarist, not "Santa Ana," like a combo of Claus and Karenina.

Señorita: A polite lady. Usually coupled with "spicy."

Taco: A corn tortilla stuffed with goodies. Also a slur used against Mexicans.

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