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güey n. a dude, guy, buddy, buster, cabrón, cuate; orig. chump, punk, idiot, fool. Editorial Note: This term is usually said to be a form of buey ‘ox’ or, in Mexico, ‘idiot.’ Often used vocatively as a salutation or interjection. Like cabrón, usually used only among friends, but not between men and women or strangers. Unlike cabrón, it also used among women. It is pronounced similar to way or hoo-way. It is sometimes spelled wey or way in English or in informal Spanish. (source: Double-Tongued Dictionary)

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  • I worked with mexicans on a masonry crew and they always called me “way”.  When I asked what it meant they said fool or idiot, which pissed me off, so I started insulting their mothers, which is normal in regular white man construction crews.  But i found you don’t do that with latinos.

  • Mr Plimsoll, you are wrong on so many counts I don’t know where to begin.  O.K., it is not “always with a smirk.”  Wearing horns “encornado” is a term at least as old as ancient Greek to describe a man whose wife has cuckolded him.  It does not have any correlation with “bitch,” or “Niggar” (sic)(nigger, niggah, nigga, but never niggar).  The word may have a sexual undertone, when intended, but for the most part, it has become a standard greeting, probably best translated as “man,” as in, “Hey man, whassup?” or fool, dude, or guy, this last probably having become an informal cognate.  Who are the “lower classes” who always “disparage?”  What is the meaning of “aliterate?”  Do you mean “illiterate?”  I think you mean to say camaraderie, instead of comraderie.  For the most part, I have noticed that the “ruling class” has at least as bad manners as those you refer to as the lower classes.  After all, it is bad manners personified to be a member of such a venal and corrupt group.

  • yo pienso que la palabra guey is not a bad word, fro me this word mean like friend or body I am are mexican form San Miguel de Allende we use this word in good thing el que lo entienda de una forma diferente pues it hsi own but Ithink that that tis word is no bad.

  • way to go guey Jose I think you are absolutly correct in your comment. I lived in Mexico for several years and     my friends and I all called each other guey without insult. I think of this as the equivalent of asshole in english when used amoung friends.

  • You’re right john. I have lived in Mexico for several years, too, and my buddies and I called each other guey all the time! It definitely a good word, as long as you do not say it to strangers.

  • “Que paso’ buey!” is what I heard a lot of from a variety of working stiff Mexican cats when I lived and worked in Houston, whether they were locals, guys up from the Valley, or undoc’d day laborers.  (of these the latter were always the least likely to use the phrase in mixed company).
    It is fair to say it is analagous to the following familiarities:

    -“niggah” in the common black American community
    -“cara” among Brazilians
    -“cunt” among young British men

    So it’s colloquial and non-malicious.  Welcome to the Human Race.

  • You are what you think, and words mean what their history loads them with, whether the speaker understands that or not. Aliterate, which anyone could look up, describes people who can read but don’t.  Mexican homes usually do not display books, and with good reason.  Unitl the sixties, the Catholic mass, delivered in Spanish, did not even promote bible reading!

  • The thing is, I pretty much doubt you meant “able to read but not wanting to” when you wrote ‘aliterate’, Mark, but whatever.

  • Another point is, it is often used to confuse gringos so that if a gringo happens to have picked up a few words of Spanish that he actually knows how to translate, ‘guey,’ added after every few words, with the rapidity of speech, can often keep a private conversation in a public place private.  And no, words do not keep to their original meanings, languages evolve and change over time.  For example, ‘pimp’ no longer simply means a man who sells women, but also to particular men who are players, playboys and a whole host of other, similar but not equal expressions.  Same with snow, blow, bitch, stud and many, many more.

  • Through reading and speaking, through travel and experiences, people cause languages to change, grow and adapt new meaning.  Such is the nature of language. 

    On the subject of class, I respectfully quote a wise man (albeit out of context) about whom Mr. Plimsoll may be familiar with:

    “He is not a clever man, he is a poor speaker and a feeble writer, but he has a big good heart, and with the untutored utterings of that he has stirred even the most indifferent. He has taken up a cause, not a popular cause nor a powerful one—

    …He has moreover averred that the labouring classes are the more part a brave, high-souled, generous race who merit better treatment than to have their highest qualities made the instruments of their destruction. He tells of men who go to certain death rather than have their courage impugned, of men who freely share their meager crust with companions in poverty, and he claims sympathy and admiration for them although it is well-known that they are ill-washed, uncouth and rude of speech. Manifestly such a proceeding could only be the offspring of a distempered brain, and so it has gone forth that the—champion is “mad on this question.”

    -From an article on Samuel Plimsoll (responsible for the Plimsoll Mark or loadline on commercial ships) in an 1873 issue of Vanity Fair-

    The original “Plimsoll Mark” or loadline was a circle with a horizontal line through it to show the maximum draft of a ship. Additional marks have been added over the years, allowing for different water densities and expected sea conditions.  The loadline has been re-examined, improved upon and ammended throughout maritime history dating back to 2500 bc.

    Just as the “mark” may have a different meaning in summer than in winter, in fresh than in salt or tropic waters, one must accept new and evolved meanings lest we run aground and cease to move forward through this work in progress that is language.

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