One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A person who has one Brazilian Indian and one white parent.
Early 19th century; earliest use found in Robert Southey (1774–1843), poet and reviewer. From Brazilian Portuguese mameluco, mamaluco person with one white parent and one American Indian parent, person with one white parent and one parent of mixed race, sense development of mameluco. Cognates in other Romance languages refer to persons regarded as servile or degraded: compare Spanish mameluco and Italian mammalucco simpleton, Argentine Spanish, Chilean Spanish, and Uruguayan Spanish mameluca whore.
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