Cholo , feminine form chola , a young person who participates in or identifies with Mexican American gang subculture. The term, sometimes used disparagingly, is derived from early Spanish and Mexican usage and denotes marginalization. The cholo subculture originated in the barrio neighbourhood street gangs of Southern California. In the early 21st century, some of its stylistic elements were appropriated by pop stars and clothing manufacturers for consumption by the wider youth culture. Cholo style includes characteristic demeanour, clothing, makeup, speech patterns, hand signals, tattoos , and graffiti. Characteristics associated with choloization include low socioeconomic status, marginalized acculturation , problems in school, and the need for cultural support, protection, and a sense of belonging.
1. Why did they call us Cholos?
2. Who let the Anglos learn about the term “Cholo” anyway?
See more words from the same year Dictionary Entries near cholo cholinesterase cholla choller cholo Choloepus Cholon Cholula. Accessed 7 Nov. More from Merriam-Webster on cholo Britannica. Test Your Vocabulary Where in the World? A Quiz What language does pajama come from? Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way. Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!
usage note for cholo
Its origin is a somewhat derogatory term for people of mixed-blood heritage in the Spanish Empire in Latin America and its successor states as part of castas , the informal ranking of society by heritage. Cholo no longer necessarily refers only to ethnic heritage, and is not always meant negatively. Cholo can signify anything from its original sense as a person with one Amerindian parent and one Mestizo parent, "gangster" in Mexico , an insult in some South American countries similar to chulo in Spain , or a "person who dresses in the manner of a certain subculture" in the United States as part of the cholo subculture. The term's use is first recorded in a Peruvian book published in and , the Comentarios Reales de los Incas by Inca Garcilaso de la Vega. He writes in Spanish "The child of a Black male and an Indian female, or of an Indian male and Black female, they call mulato and mulata. The children of these they call cholos. Cholo is a word from the Windward Islands ; it means dog, not of the purebred variety, but of very disreputable origin; and the Spaniards use it for insult and vituperation". In Ecuador, mestizas wearing indigenous attire in Ecuador were termed cholas.
Odds are if you grew up in the 90s you knew at least one cholo at your local high school. Originally a derogatory term used by Spaniards for mixed-blood descendants of the Spanish Empire, the word seems to have evolved since then to have meaning outside of ethnic heritage. Having been reclaimed by Latinos of mixed heritage, the term has come to mean many more things. So for all you cholos, cholas, cholitas, and chongas out there, here are the 13 things you should know about cholo culture. A Peruvian text dating back to features the first known use of the word. The children of these they call cholos. Vega himself was the son of a Spaniard and a royal Incan mother and was one of the first Latin-American born Spanish writers to be widely read in Europe and enter the western canon. Vega may have been one of the first men to write down cholo, but it is heavily suggested the term predates him.