Gabacho (Spanish pronunciation: [ɡaˈβatʃo]; feminine, gabacha) is a word used in the Spanish language to describe foreigners of different origins in previous history. Its origin is in Peninsular Spain, as a derogatory synonym of "French".

In Spain the term keeps the initial meaning, and it is used as a pejorative reference to someone or something specifically French, with no application to any other nationality. Other Spanish speaking countries, however, have adopted the term in a broader sense, acquiring a meaning similar to the meaning guiri has in Spain.

In Spanish speaking countries other than Spain it can also mean place (specifically the U.S.A.) when the definite article el is used in front of it "el gabacho". In Spain it has been used as a debasing reference for French people for hundreds of years. In Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador it is used a deprecatory reference for United States citizens. In Mexico, el gabacho can also mean the United States, as in the place ("Voy para el gabacho", "I'm going to the US"). Gabacha is also a word used in Guatemala for apron.[1] In Central America, it is used to refer to certain types of coats, such as that of a doctor, a kindergarten student, a lab coat or a graduation vest.

The origins are debated. -A possible root is the Catalan word gavatx which translates as foreigner.

-Another possible root derives from the Occitan word gavach, which translates as "someone who speaks with a faulty speech".[2] This is the official position of the Diccionario de la lengua española.

-Robert A. Geuljans, etiologists, agrees with the connection between "gabacho" and the Aquitanian and Catalonian origins by considering that the origin of all, gabacho, gavatx and gavach comes from the Occitan word for "goiter", a disorder common in the French Pyrene caused for vitamin deficiency that impairs the ability to speak. Pilgrims afflicted had been traveling from France to Spain since the Middle Ages, to follow the Camino de Santiago hoping for a miraculous cure.[3]

-The word may also derive from a mock transcription of the French word for a long coat, specifically for the coats of the French soldiers during the late 18th and early 19th century.


  1. ^ "What does Gabacho mean?". STANDS4 LLC, 2017. Retrieved 9 October 2017. Gabacho is a word used in the Spanish language to describe foreigners of different origins.
  2. ^ , "someone who doesn´t speak properly"gabacho at the Diccionario de la lengua española
  3. ^ «Diccionario de Autoridades(1726-1739)».