Monday August 03 2015

Posted by James on April 29, 2015
  • General Pershing meets Pancho Villa
    General Pershing meets Pancho Villa

We have heard lots of plausible origins of the word Gringo, this is the best one we've heard so far.

In surfing the net I came across a slightly different explanation for the word “gringo” that I had never heard before. Interestingly enough while the word is decidedly of Mexican origin the explanation I found was on a Belize site. Belize being located on the south western side of México on the Yucatan peninsula has obviously adopted the use of the word “gringo” as well. 

Following is a “reprint” (republish in the web world) from www.Belizenorth.com site written by Rick Zahniser, rickz@red83.com.mx

Where "Gringo" came from

There are various theories about where the term came from. One encyclopedia suggests that it is derived from the Spanish word for Greek -- as in "that's Greek to me." I believe this story, which was related by Miz Hybarger, my fourth grade history teacher. 

During the Mexican War (1846-48) the Yankee soldiers were singing a marching song called “Green Grow the Rushes”. The Mexicans heard this marching song and started calling the Yankees “Gringos” because of the recurring word “Green Grow”. (I've included the words to this song here.) 

Obviously, the word connotes the sum of experience that a stranger has with these Norte Americanos who come to visit and stay south of the border. Sometimes that's good and sometimes it's bad, just like people everywhere.

Green Grow the Rushes, Oh

Armies don’t march to this tune any more, but it survives as a neat group song. Here are the verses. 

The leader sings: “I’ll give you one, oh.” 

And the group responds…“Green grow the rushes, oh!”

Leader: “What is your one, oh?”

Group: “One is one, and all alone, and ever more will be so.”

Leader: “I’ll give you two, oh”

Group: “Green grow the rushes, oh!”

Leader: “What is your two, oh?”

Group: “Two, two, the lilly-white boys, clothed all in green, oh.”

“One is one and all alone, and ever more will be so.”

Leader: “I’ll give you three, oh”

Group: “Green grow the rushes, oh!”

Leader: “What is your three, oh?”

Group: “Three, three, the rivals, two, two, the lilly-white boys…” …etc… 

The verses go on…

“Four for the gospel makers”

“Five for the symbols at your door”

“Six for the six proud walkers”

“Seven for the seven stars in the sky”

“Eight for the April rainers”

“Nine for the nine white shiners”

“Ten for the Ten Commandments”

“Eleven for the ‘leven that went to heaven”

“Twelve for the twelve apostles”

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