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"Gringo" and "Greenhorn"

The posting on the word "gringo" ended: "The Enciclopedia Universal Herder, published in Barcelona, says it comes from the English "greenhorn": "naive", and "a recently arrived immigrant". I have never heard "greenhorn" used in that sense, but in fact I have never heard the word. I think "greenhorn" is obsolete. Herder does not say how it got this etymology." Miles Seeley replied that the word was common in the West. I replied " I did not grow up in the West, but I came here in 1937 and have never heard the word here. Stanford, the Farm, had cows but no cowboys. One would not expect them in the Harvard of the West". Miles corrected me: "There were several of us in the late 40s who had cowboy experience or whose families owned cattle ranches. We hung out together and at the Red Barn (where I cleaned stalls etc in return for a free room upstairs). Some of us entered rodeos, some of us played polo, and we all worked on ranches in the summers. We were considered somewhat of a wild bunch (for those days). Both Wallace Stegner and Yvor Winters seemed to like having us around. Perhaps we were a novelty". Did Miles hear the word "Greenhorn" at Stanford? Both Stegner and Winters were members of the Stanford English Department. Wallace Stegner, who wrote about the West, was a pleasant person. Winters, who did not, was not. The English Department has Stegner Fellowships. I will ask the program director if Stegner used the word "greenhorn".

Ronald Hilton - 4/29/01