"Gringo" revisited

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Escrito por Minnesota Mike desde (ff-xdsl-219.prtel.com) el día viernes, 30 de julio, 2004 a las 09:45:56 horas :

My favorite explanation for the origin of the term "gringo" was this: during the Mexican-American war of 1846-1848, Mexican scouts heard Texans singing "Green Grow the Lilacs" - the "theme" song of the war. The Mexican scouts spying on the camps heard "Green Grow..." and coined the term "gringo" from it. I have been "showing off" my vast store of knowledge by telling people the above story for years.

Unfortunately, I happened upon the SNOPES website and learned my version was incorrect. Those folks point out the term "gringo" appeared in the "Diccionario Castellano" in 1787. It was a term used to describe foriegners with "the type of accent that prevents them from speaking Spanish easily and naturally". The term was used in Madrid and applied to Irish settlers in Spain. SNOPES goes on to say the term "gringo" probably derives from "Griego", or Greek. It seems the Spanish have the equivalent expression for "it's Greek to me" (hablar en Griego) to indicate non-understanding (this from SNOPES).
I'm really sad about this - I have been telling people for years the first story. It is true the term "gringo" became in prevalent usage following the Mexican-American war, but the term's origin predated the war. So, I have been wrong. I think it might be the first time in my life I was ever wrong about anything, but then I'm not sure, so I'll ask my wife.

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