cri·​o·​llo krē-ˈōl-(ˌ)yō How to pronounce criollo (audio)
plural criollos
: a person of pure Spanish descent born in Spanish America
: a person born and usually raised in a Spanish-American country
: a domestic animal of a breed or strain (as of cattle) developed in Latin America
especially, often capitalized : any of a breed of hardy muscular ponies originally developed in Argentina
criollo adjective

Examples of criollo in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Her ancestors had come to South America with Francisco Pizarro, and she was raised in luxury as part of the imperial colony’s criollo élite. Gideon Lewis-Kraus, The New Yorker, 25 Mar. 2024 The film is a western that is also an anti-western, recounting the genocidal settlement of Tierra del Fuego by European and criollo ranching families who hired mercenaries to systematically kill Indigenous Selk’nam people to seize their land. Carolina A. Miranda, Los Angeles Times, 27 Jan. 2024 Counteracting all that fat is an aji criollo, a thick green sauce of garlic, peppers and herbs that thrums with lime juice and vinegar. Gabe Hiatt, Washington Post, 6 Nov. 2023 Head over the border to Pawtucket for La Arepa for Venezuelan cachapas, arepas, and pabellon criollo. Globe Staff,, 13 June 2022 This includes areas of Venezuela, where criollo beans thrive. Laura Kiniry, Smithsonian Magazine, 1 Feb. 2022 In Venezuela, a restaurant owner is reintroducing the traditional criollo cocoa bean, a lucrative export crop. Richard Schiffman, The Christian Science Monitor, 23 Feb. 2022 Many Venezuelans, including chef, entrepreneur and chocolatier María Fernanda Di Giacobbe, believe criollo can be the answer to the country’s economic crisis. Laura Kiniry, Smithsonian Magazine, 1 Feb. 2022 Her Cuban-American family bastes the turkey in a mojo criollo marinade. Dee-Ann Durbin,, 22 Nov. 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'criollo.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Spanish — more at creole

First Known Use

1604, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of criollo was in 1604

Dictionary Entries Near criollo

Cite this Entry

“Criollo.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jul. 2024.

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