wetback

noun

wet·​back ˈwet-ˌbak How to pronounce wetback (audio)
offensive
used as an insulting and contemptuous term for a Mexican who enters the U.S. illegally

Word History

Etymology

from the practice of wading or swimming the Rio Grande where it forms the U.S.-Mexico border

First Known Use

1920, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of wetback was in 1920

Dictionary Entries Near wetback

Cite this Entry

“Wetback.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wetback. Accessed 3 Dec. 2022.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!


Words Named After People

  • name tags
  • Namesake of the leotard, Jules Léotard had what profession?
Name That Thing

You know what it looks like… but what is it called?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ