Spic is an
ethnic slurused in English speaking countries for a person of Hispanicdescent. "Spic" can be used both as a nounand an adjective, and is even used at times as a name for the Spanish language.
The term was apparently initially used by Vianel Espinal of King's College during the 1904 U.S. construction of the
In American literature, the word has been dated to around 1916, when its first known written usage was by Ernest Peixotto in "Our Hispanic Southwest", page 102. One of the first recorded usages of the word was in "
Ladies' Home Journal," on September 17 1919, when it wrote: "The Marines had been [...] silencing the elusive 'spick' bandit in Santo Domingo". Its history before that time, however, is less certain. It was also used by William Faulknerin "Knight's Gambit" (1946), page 137, when he said: "I don't intend that a fortune-hunting "Spick" shall marry my mother." It was later used by F. Scott Fitzgeraldin "Tender Is the Night" (1934), page 275, although in dialog: "'He's a spic!' he said. He was frantic with jealousy."
While the exact origin of the word isn't known, some Latin Americans in the United States believe that some of the Ethnic groups referred to Hispanic Americans using the word as play on their accented pronunciation of the English word "speak" (as in "No spic English"). [http://kpearson.faculty.tcnj.edu/Dictionary/spic.htm Interactive Dictionary of Racial Language] Accessed
April 12 2007] [http://www.bartleby.com/61/53/S0635300.html The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language] Accessed April 12 2007] [Santiago, Esmeralda. When I Was Puerto Rican. New York: Vintage Books, 1993.] ]
It may also derive from "spig", which was originally used to refer to Italians, in turn from "spiggoty" (sometimes spelled "spiggity", "spigotti", or "spigoty") which may derive from "spaghetti" or "no spika de Ingles". The oldest known use of "spiggoty" is in 1910 by Wilbur Lawton in "Boy Aviators in Nicaragua, or, In League with the Insurgents", page 331. Stuart Berg Flexner in "I hear America Talking" (1976), favored the explanation that it derives from "no spik Ingles" (or "no spika de Ingles").. These theories follow standard naming practices, which include attacking people according to the foods they eat (see
Krautand Frog) and for their failure to speak a language (see Barbarianand Gringo). A popular theory is that the word "spic" derives from the shortening of the word " Hispanic".
A slur derived from "spic" is "spic and span" (first used in the African-American community in the 1950s) meaning a mixed Puerto Rican and African-American couple. [Jonathon Green, "Spic and span", "The Cassell Dictionary of Slang" (1998) p. 390.] The phrase had legitimate currency at the time as the name of a cleaning product, "
Spic and Span", before it was applied to mixed-heritage couples. This product is still sold under the same name. [http://www.spicnspan.com/ Spic n Span official website.] Accessed January 16 2007.]
The product took the name from a common phrase meaning extremely clean, "spick and span", which was a British
idiomfirst recorded in 1579, and used in Samuel Pepys's diary. A spick was a spike or nail, a span was a very fresh wood chip, and thus the phrase meant clean and neat and all in place, as in being nailed down. The "span" in the idiom also is part of "brand span new", now more commonly rendered "brand spanking new", and has nothing to do with the words "Spanish" or "Hispanic". [http://takeourword.com/Issue045.html Take Our Word for It] June 21 1999, Issue 45 of etymology webzine. Accessed January 16 2007.] [http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?l=s&p=35 Online Etymology Dictionary] detailing British phrase evolving from Dutch "spiksplinter nieuw", "spike-splinter new". Accessed January 16 2007.]
Other works consulted
*Hugh Rawson, "spic(k)" "Wicked Words," (1989) p. 19.
*John A. Simpson and Edmund S.C. Weiner, edd, "spic", "The Oxford English Dictionary," 2nd ed. (1989)
List of ethnic slurs
Sudacas(Racist term in Spain (Europe).
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spic — SPIC, spice, s.n. 1. Inflorescenţă caracteristică plantelor graminee, alcătuită din mai multe flori mici cu peduncul scurt, dispuse pe o axă centrală lungă. ♢ expr. A da în spic sau a i da spicul, a face spic = (despre plante) a se apropia de… … Dicționar Român
spic — [ spik ] n. m. • XIIIe; espic XIIe; lat. spicus « épi, herbe odoriférante » en lat. médiév. ♦ Lavande dont on extrait une essence odorante, dite huile de spic (ou d aspic). ● spic nom masculin (latin spica, épi) Nom usuel com … Encyclopédie Universelle
spic|y — «SPY see», adjective, spic|i|er, spic|i|est. 1. flavored with spice: »The cookies were rich and spicy. 2. like spice; sharp and fragrant: »Those apples have a spicy smel … Useful english dictionary
spic — spik [spık] n AmE taboo [Date: 1900 2000; Origin: spigotty spic (1900 2000), probably from no speaka de English, a form of I do not speak English supposedly used by Spanish Americans] a very offensive word for a Spanish speaking person. Do not… … Dictionary of contemporary English
spic|u|la — spic|u|la1 «SPIHK yuh luh», noun, plural lae « lee». 1. = spicule. (Cf. ↑spicule) 2. a sharp pointed crystal, especially of frost or ice. ╂[< New Latin spicula, variant of Latin spīculum (diminutive) < spīca; see etym. under spica (Cf. ↑ … Useful english dictionary
Spič — Spič, Ort in Dalmatien, s. Spizza … Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon
Spic — Spic, Spicanarde, S. Spiek … Grammatisch-kritisches Wörterbuch der Hochdeutschen Mundart
şpic — s. v. lavandă, levănţică. Trimis de siveco, 13.09.2007. Sursa: Sinonime … Dicționar Român
spic — derogatory for Latino person, 1913, from cliche protestation, No spick English. Earlier spiggoty (1910); the term is said to have originated in Panama during the canal construction. But it also was applied from an early date to Italians, and some … Etymology dictionary
spic — ► NOUN US informal, offensive ▪ a Spanish speaking person from Central or South America or the Caribbean, especially a Mexican. ORIGIN perhaps from speak the in «no speak the English» … English terms dictionary