Definition of Chicano in US English:



  • (in North America) a person of Mexican origin or descent, especially a man or boy.

    as modifier ‘Chicano culture’
    See also Chicana
    • ‘These struggles helped to shape a distinct Chicano and Latino punk scene.’
    • ‘They like having an African-American executive to send to Nigeria, or a Chicano to handle their Mexican accounts.’
    • ‘Since then, Chicano art has grown more varied as the Chicano population has assimilated further into American society.’
    • ‘The final straw came when he went to do a cover on Chicanos in Uvalde, Texas.’
    • ‘Monolingual English-speaking Chicanos took courses to learn Spanish.’
    • ‘My harshest critics have been Chicanas, and Chicanos; but they have also been my strongest supporters.’
    • ‘The teachers were not of Mexican descent, yet they strove to bring Mexican and Chicano cultures into the classroom.’
    • ‘Fiction of cultural resistance includes an inner discourse of resistance to patriarchal traditions in the Chicano culture.’
    • ‘It is well-known that the first work did not endear him to the Chicano and Chicana intelligentsia.’
    • ‘He placed education for Mexican-American youth as his top priority, but he believed that Chicanos had to know about other minority cultures as well.’
    • ‘The Chicano family is inseparable from the American contexts that contain it.’
    • ‘The result, as was common with other ethnic groups, was a fusion of beliefs and traditions evolving into the Chicano culture.’
    • ‘Many Chicanos today live in the Midwest and the East.’
    • ‘Though there were tensions between these two communities at times, there was also overlap, cultural exchange, and camaraderie between blacks and Chicanos.’
    • ‘Until the late 1970s, Los Angeles's Pico-Union district was populated by Mexican immigrants, Chicanos, African Americans, and European Americans.’
    • ‘One of the key elements of the foundation of the Chicano movement has been the use of Spanish to resist cultural domination.’
    • ‘There was universal agreement that art by Chicano artists was helping to write the Chicano experience into American history.’
    • ‘This concern was especially true in their dealings with Chicanos who would taunt and tease them in English and Spanish.’
    • ‘Based on shared experiences as second-class citizens, Chicanos and Arab immigrants are building an alliance in Los Angeles.’
    • ‘These might include Chicanos, Cajuns, Amish and Puerto Ricans.’


The term Chicano (derived from Mexican Spanish), and the feminine form Chicana, became current in the early 1960s, first used by politically active groups. Chicano and Chicana are still in frequent use and have become less politicized. However, Mexican-Americans with less militant political views might find the terms offensive. Hispanic is a more generic term denoting persons in the US of Latin American or Spanish descent. See also Hispanic


Mexican Spanish, alteration of Spanish mejicano (masculine) ‘Mexican’.