ca·​ló kə-ˈlō How to pronounce caló (audio)
: any of several Spanish argots
especially : an argot used by Chicano youths in cities of the U.S. Southwest

Word History


borrowed from Spanish, "argot, speech of the Spanish Roma," borrowed from Iberian Romani kalo "speech of the Roma, black," going back to Old Indo-Aryan *kāla- "black, dark" (whence Sanskrit kālaḥ "black, dark blue"), borrowed from a Dravidian source akin to Kannada kāḷ "blackness," kaḍu "blackness, black," Telugu karu "black"

First Known Use

1944, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of caló was in 1944

Dictionary Entries Near caló

Cite this Entry

“Caló.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Jan. 2023.

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