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n. Offensive Slang
Used as a disparaging term for a person of Mexican birth or descent, especially one who has crossed the US-Mexico border illegally.

[From the fact that the Rio Grande is a common entry point.]


(Peoples) informal offensive US a Mexican labourer who enters the US illegally
[C20: illegal immigrants would swim across the Rio Grande river to reach the US]



usage: This term is used with disparaging intent and is perceived as insulting.
Slang: Disparaging and Offensive. (a contemptuous term used to refer to a Mexican laborer who enters the U.S. illegally.)
[1925–30, Amer.; alluding to the practice of swimming or wading the Rio Grande to enter the U.S.]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.wetback - (ethnic slur) offensive term for a person of Mexican descent
derogation, disparagement, depreciation - a communication that belittles somebody or something
ethnic slur - a slur on someone's race or language
Mexican - a native or inhabitant of Mexico


[ˈwetbæk] N (US) → inmigrante mf (mejicano) ilegal, espalda mf mojada


[ˈwɛtbæk] n (US)dos m mouilléwet blanket n (= person) → rabat-joie mf invwet dream npollution f nocturne
References in periodicals archive ?
With "the wetbacks huddled in a circle under an enormous cactus to draw straws" to determine which mouse will "take one for the team," it's clear how little has changed and how suggestively Speedy Gonzales dramatized border politics four decades prior to the passage of NAFTA.
High profile Jewish celebrities and Jewish activist sets on board of directors of Elbit and are making millions off of Elbit Apartheids Steven spielberg, Adam Sandler, and pro Israeli right activist Pamela Geller who made no secret of her Anti Native American views Who preferred to Native Americans crossing boarder as wetbacks who should be shot like Israel does Palestinians.
We learn, for instance, that Petroleum Romance, 2012, portrays conflict in the Middle East, and that Sudacas, Wetbacks and Balseroes, 2013, recalls the tragic misery of immigration.
Martinsville Faggots, Bloomington Slant Eyes, Indiana Wetbacks, Purdue Jews) in an effort to highlight the connection between the actual experience of American Indians and what it might be like for other marginalized groups in society to be exposed to this practice.
The wetbacks, whom the Ninth Circuit believes suffered "post-traumatic stress disorder and other emotional disorders," wound up with $87,000, and Barnett appealed to the San Francisco judges.
When Hank encounters Private Ortiez (Victor Wolf), weapon in hand, Ortiez draws a knife in self-defense, provoking a racist slur from Hank: "Fucking wetbacks.
Which group of people are known as wetbacks in the USA?
Wetbacks gather in trucks, filling water jugs, resting in the shade, or listening to advice from concerned activist organizations.
But she also notes that, under the combined pressure of "wetbacks" quests for work on their own terms, growers' evasion of "bureaucratic regulations," and periodic sweeps by immigration officials to arrest illegal entrants and then parole them to big farmers--called "drying out the wetbacks," (153)--there were far more illegal migrant workers than those under government contract by the time the program was discontinued in 1964.
Japs, gooks, chinamen, a los asidticos; greasers, wetbacks o cockroaches, a los mexicanos y, claro, a los negros que son, perdon, niggers.
As a result, the INS stepped up enforcement in the early 1950s with the infamous Operation Wetback that cleared hundreds of thousands of "wetbacks" from the United States by dumping them over the border.