Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Used as a disparaging term for a person of Mexican birth or descent, especially one who has crossed the US-Mexico border illegally.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A Mexican who enters the United States illegally, by wading across the Rio Grande; -- disparaging and offensive.
  • noun An offensive term for a person of Mexican descent, usually intended and considered as an ethnic slur.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun derogatory slang A Mexican or Central American who illegally enters the United States of America from its southern border.
  • noun derogatory slang A person of the Mestizo race, used interchangeably with the Spanish term mojado.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun (ethnic slur) offensive term for a person of Mexican descent

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[From the fact that the Rio Grande is a common entry point.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

First used in 1920s from the presumed effects of swimming or wading across the Rio Grande. Used by the U.S. Government in 1954 with Operation Wetback.

Examples

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