chan·​chi·​to chän-ˈchē-(ˌ)tō How to pronounce chanchito (audio)
plural chanchitos
: a freshwater cichlid fish (Australohero facetus synonym Cichlasoma facetum) of South America that is typically yellow to pale brown with dark vertical stripes, may reach a length of seven inches (18 centimeters), and is sometimes kept in aquariums : chameleon cichlid

Word History


borrowed from American Spanish, diminutive of chancho "hog, swine," affective variant of sancho in the same sense, from the Spanish given name Sancho

Note: Allegedly so named from the fish's habit of uprooting plants.

First Known Use

1919, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of chanchito was in 1919

Dictionary Entries Near chanchito

Cite this Entry

“Chanchito.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2024.

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