From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Spic (slur))
Jump to: navigation, search

Spic (also known as spick) is an ethnic slur commonly used in the United States for a person of Hispanic background.


Some in the United States believe that the word is a play on their pronunciation of the English "speak".[1][2][3] The Oxford English Dictionary takes spic to be a contraction of the earlier form spiggoty.[4] The oldest known use of "spiggoty" is in 1910 by Wilbur Lawton in Boy Aviators in Nicaragua, or, In League with the Insurgents. Stuart Berg Flexner, in I hear America Talking (1976), favored the explanation that it derives from "no spik Ingles" (or "no spika de Ingles").[5] These theories follow standard naming practices, which include attacking people according to the foods they eat (see Kraut and Frog) and for their failure to speak a language (see Barbarian and Gringo).


  1. ^ http://kpearson.faculty.tcnj.edu/Dictionary/spic.htm Interactive Dictionary of Language. Accessed April 12, 2007.
  2. ^ http://www.bartleby.com/61/53/S0635300.html The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. Accessed April 12, 2007.
  3. ^ Santiago, Esmeralda. When I Was Puerto Rican. New York: Vintage Books, 1993.
  4. ^ "spiggoty". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005.  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.) citing as an etymology Amer. Speech XIII. 311/1 (1938) 'Spiggoty' originated in Panama during Construction Days, and is assumed to be a corruption of ‘spikee de’ in the sentence ‘No spikee de English’, which was then the most common response of Panamanians to any question in English.
  5. ^ Take Our Word for It June 21, 1999, Issue 45 of etymology webzine. Accessed January 16, 2007.