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Spanish Ethnic Labels: Cholo, Chulo

Ana Marķa Eccles,a native of Spain now living in the US, writes: " You said that in Spain,"cholo" is a friendly but uncommon term. I don't think I ever heard it before I came to this continent. Probably you know the meaning of the term "chulo".

My reply. In Spain, "chulo" means witty, or a Madrid lower chass person. I have never heard it in the Americas. Joan Corominas, a Spaniard who like Ana Marķa, came to the US, does not discuss "cholo", but he has a long article on "chulo" in his etymological dictionary of Castilian (not Spanish!). He says that"chulo" comes from he Italian "ciullo" ("fanciullo", child). He implies that it has a different origin from "cholo", but I suspect that they are variants of the same word.

Ronald Hilton - 1/23/01