Ask a Nuyorican

¡Hola! Everybody…
It’s back to work for me and I’m definitely not looking forward to it! LOL! This is the time of year with long stretches of no vacation days, short days, long nights, and cold weather here in El Norte. I will be spending lots of time at home! LOL!

* * *

-=[ Ask a Nuyorican]=-

Being a Primer on How to be a Nuyorican via Cuss Words, Sex, and Everything Else

So, I was reading ¡Ask A Mexican! by Gustavo Arellano and I found it hilarious. I was thinking that since the messakins have such a reference source, then the second largest Latino/a demographic, people of Puerto Rican descent, should be similarly honored. After all, in the northeast and in places like Chicago, Puerto Ricans are most likely the majority of Latino/as you will run into. Shit, we even have a tight-knit clan in Hawaii, part of the unintended result of Operation Bootstrap. But I’m getting a little ahead of myself here and I don’t want to give anyone a headache.

Notice the word in my title, Nuyorican? Well, a Nuyorican is a person of Puerto Rican descent or birth who was born or raised in New York City. Lots of Dominicans and Cubans ad assorted other Latino/as try to pass themselves off a Nuyoricans, but you can tell us apart right away: we’re the first ones to speak up.

Now, if you’re from the South or the West Coast, you might not even know what a Puerto Rican is or that Puerto Rico is a colony of the good old U.S. of A. Yup, that’s right. Puerto Rico, a small island in the Caribbean, is one of the oldest colonies on the planet (a distinction we share with our Irish brothers and sisters!).

As a result of the Jones Act, we are citizens of the USA. Not that we asked for it. In fact, we had nothing to do with it, since our little islita was part of the spoils of the Spanish-American War. But in any case, we are US citizens, so all you black and white Americanos who are too stupid to know your own country’s geography and who are about to ask me for my green card — I got your fuckin’ green card…

::right here::

I once had to set an educator down south straight while attempting to register my younger brother in school, dumb fuckin’ hick.

Now that we got that out of the way… we can move on to the juicier stuff! Let’s start with language. This is by no means an exhaustive list and I hope to continue adding to it, but it will have to suffice for now…

¡: See that upside-down exclamation point? That’s how I usually start my blogs… It’s usually used in front of an exclamatory sentence. ¡Ho sweat! Your ass is showing!

There are other important punctuation issues, such as the upside-down question mark and the tilde which transforms an n into something that sounds like enye (like Enya, the gringa singer, except with an e sound at the end), but I’m not getting into that today. I want to get to the important shit, like cuss words and shit. Now, some of these cuss words won’t have the same effect or meaning with other Latino/as. Bicho, for example means mosquito for a Cuban. You hear Cubans all the time talking about that bicho is bothering them, or how they want to swat a bicho away.

::blank stare::

However, for a Nuyorican bicho means penis, dick, cock.

Americano: an Americano is anyone from the US regardless of skin color. Nuyoricans use this term instead of the Mexican gringo. Most Nuyoricans wouldn’t be caught saying gringo (or “esai” for that matter! LOL!). If you ain’t Latino/a then you’re an Americano.

Bicho: A term used to denote a penis.

Borinquen/ Boricua: Borinquen is the original name of the island christened Puerto Rico by Christopher Columbus. A Boricua is someone from the island Borinquen. However, the terms have a more important psychological function for Nuyoricans. It’s the psycho-spiritual birthplace of all Puerto Ricans, whether they were born there or not. Nuyoricans use Borinquen to describe parts of Manhattan.

Cabron: A carbon is literally a castrated goat, but if a Nuyorican calls you a carbon you should take umbrage because it means that your wife is fuckin’ another man and you know it and put up with it.

Cariño: love, affection.

Chocha: A term used to denote a vagina. (also called a toto)

Chino/a: Literally “Chinese,” but chino/a is a phrase Nuyoricans use to denote all Asians. It’s also used as a term of endearment

Cocolo: In the USA, this is a pejorative term for African-Americans. In PR, it’s a term for PRs who embrace their African roots (or like salsa).

Come Mierda: Literally “shit eater.” Often used by Nuyoricans in reasoned debate.

Culo: Every Nuyorican man’s obsession.

Hola: A form of greeting, as in “hello.” No, it doesn’t mean, “holla” and it’s pronounced with the h silent: oh-la

Maricon: Literally an insult questioning a man’s sexual preference, but often used as a substitute for the Anglo motherfucker.

Moreno: Originally used as a term for PRs who looked like Moors — darker skinned folk. In the US, a term used to describe African-Americans.

Mulata: African-American gringos might find this term offensive, but for Puerto Ricans a mulata is not a bad thing. In fact, there are songs and poems dedicated to mulatas sabrosa. It denotes a person of mixed race — which is just about every Puerto Rican you’ll ever meet.

Negro/a: Literally meaning black, but used as a term of endearment by Nuyoricans. Don’t ask me why, I once knew the origins of its use, but have since forgotten. You can be white as a fish belly, but if you’re in a relationship with a Nuyorican, he or she will eventually call you negra or negro as a term of endearment. Feel good about it.

Nuyorican: Originally a pejorative used by Puerto Ricans from the island and other come mierda Latino/as. It was used to denote the poorer, supposedly stupider, more assimilated cousins of “true” Puerto Ricans. However, many persons of Puerto Rican descent use the term proudly today to self-identify.

Well, I have to run along to work, so this will be it for now. If you have a question about Nuyoricans, please feel free to ask. the only stupid question is the one you don’t ask.

Con Cariño,



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