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A 'Zoot Suit' Glossary

#1859

Edward James Olmos in the World premiere of "Zoot Suit" at the Mark Taper Forum in 1978.

Photo by Jay Thompson.

Zoot Suit is not merely performed in English and Spanish. The characters also speak caló, a patois or dialect that is one of the highly distinctive ways the pachuco has of projecting himself. According to one scholar, caló developed in barrios all around the country to give each region its own particular idiom and phrases.

Abusado
Shape up, wise up
Aguitala
Control yourself
Bato
Dude, guy
Borlo
Dance
Bribón
Wise guy
Cabrón
Bastard
Cálmenla
Calm down, cool it
Carnal/Carnala/Carnalillo
Brother/sister/little brother
Chale
No
Chango
Monkey
Chicas Patas
Chicano
Chingón
Big shot
Chula
Pretty girl
Es puro Basilón
It's only fun
Ese/Esa
Man, dude, hey man/woman, girl
Foquiar
Screw you
Gabacho
Anglo, gringo, paddy, white American
Hay te watcho
See you later, see you there
Huisa
Girlfriend
Jaina
Girlfriend, woman
Jefita/Jefito
Mother/father
La Jura
The law
Trucha la jura
Watch out, the cops!
Me la rayo
For sure, it's the truth, I swear
Menudo
Tripe soup
Mira!
Look!
Nel!
No! (More forceful than chale)
No te hagas gacho
Don't be guache
Órale
Hey, right on
Pedo
Hassle, excitement, "hot air"
Pendejadas
Stupidities, nonsense
Pendejo
Idiot
Pinche
Lousy
Ponte abusado
Wise up, get smart
Puro pedo
Bullshit
Puro relajo
Bullshit
Puto
Whore
Que desmadre
What a mess
Ruca
Wife, girlfriend
Ruco
Old
Simón
Yes
Sura
Soiled, unclean
Surote
Bad (good) dude
Te curas
Can you beat it
Verdolaga
Naïve, hick
Watcha!
Look!
Y qué
So waht?
Ya estubo
That's enough
Ya me estás cayendo gordo
You're being a pain in the ass
Ya pués
That's enough

Reprinted from the program for Zoot Suit’s 1978 World premiere.

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