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News » Ask a Mexican

Pinche Alternative Meanings



Dear Readers: Before we move on to your spicy preguntas, a bit of housecleaning. Primeramente, gracias to all the Know Nothings who responded to my 100-word-essay challenge asking them to justify loving legal Mexicans but not the illegal ones; I will publish the best entries on the Mexican’s April Fools’ edición.

On a more important note: pinche. Many of ustedes offered alternate meanings to this Mexican Spanish vulgarity beyond “cooking assistant” and “fucking in the adverbial sense.” From our Puerto Rican brothers:

In Puerto Rico, pinche is simply the term used for a wooden clothespin. There is no negative connotation of the word on the island.

• From a gabacho married to a Colombian chica:

When my in-laws were in recently, my cuñada saw us drinking margaritas from a margarita glass. “Eso es muy pinche,” she said, and our mouths dropped. But according to my mother-in-law, pinche in Colombia just means that one is putting on airs.

• Next is my pal Tigrillo, a proud Mexi grad of Princeton University, voicing something echoed by many other tejanos who wrote in:

In south Texas, they use pinche to refer to people being tight with their money. Kind of weird, since so many folk in south Texas have roots in Monterrey, the supposed land of the codos. I think that meaning of pinche is Tex-Mex, and I have never heard it used similarly elsewhere.

• Something for the Spanish-speaking readers of this column. Oh, my god: the Reconquista has even hit Ask a Mexican!

Soy un nostálgico ex-neoyorquino que ahora vive en Chilangolandia. Leyendo la respuesta que diste al uso de pinche, pienso que no puedes decir “Pinche!” a secas, porque además de adverbio es un adjetivo que necesita calificar a un nombre (adverbios se convierten en adjetivos, es mi punto). Tienes que decir, como le explicaste al gabacho: “Pinche gringo culero!,” o “Pinche gey!” como decimos mucho aquí en Mexico City. También decimos mucho: “Eso está muy pinche,” para determinar la mala calidad o mal gusto de cualquier cosa. Qué tal el superlativo pinchísimo? También se debe incluir como adjetivo, no?: “Esa película estuvo pinchísima!” es una gran palabra y por supuesto es muy buena traducción para fucking. Me gusta particularmente: “Fucking bitch!” Pero no por misógino, sino porque suena tan bien como “Pinche puta!”

• The final word goes to a gabacho living in Mexico:

Actually, Mexican: here in Sinaloa, pinche is a pretty mild word, more like your (and mine for years) definition, “worthless.” Commonly used by la gente educada y religiosa, pinche just doesn’t have that connotation of “fucking” that it seems to have gained from you pinche wabs y Chicanos in the borderlands and in the U.S.

One qualifier to the Mexicanized gabacho: he lives in SInaloa, a Pacific coastal state notorious for its tough, vulgar residents. Need proof? This is where most of Mexico’s drugs lords originate—and now, I shut up.

Ask the Mexican at,, find him on Facebook, or write via snail mail at: Gustavo Arellano, P.O. Box 1433, Anaheim, CA 92815-1433!