Definition of “Pinche”

Posted: October 1, 2016 in Language Use
Tags: , , ,

Years ago, I was sitting around drinking beer with my pal Abe, and we were pondering the question “What’s the most pinche thing you can think of?” as a way of coming up with the lyrics for a latin rock tune I’d written. It turned out that the most pinche thing either of us could think of was having to go to work at the crack of dawn horribly hungover. Hence, Pinche Blues. And by extension The Pinche Blues Band.

It’s a great word, and works well for the band: Mexicans think the band name is hilarious, and white folks, unless they speak Spanish, are invariably mystified by it, and will often ask what it means.

The definition I’ve used for years is this: Pinche, adj. 1) Mean, low down, dirty; 2) “Fucking” in the nonsexual sense, as in “no fucking good.” (“Pinche,” however, is milder than “fucking.”)

But here’s the best definition I’ve ever seen of the term; it’s from the Urban Dictionary. The only thing I’d note is that I hear “pinche” quite often here in Tucson, and I’ve never heard it used in sense “A,” only in senses “B” and “C”:

Spanish-language expression meaning:
a) Kitchen boy. The guys who clean up the Chef’s mess and scrub the frying pans and carry stuff around. In this context it’s still used in Spain.
b) In Mexico, it’s an all-purpose insult enhancer, which would be roughly equivalent to the use of *fucking* in English. If Jay (Silent Bob’s hetero life mate) spoke Spanish, he would say *pinche* A LOT.
Pinche is strongly associated with cursing in Mexican Spanish and the very moment you use it gives you away as a Mexican national. So you pinches gringos take that into account if you’re trying to pass for an Argentine or whatever.
c) In Mexico, it’s also used as an adjective to describe something as insignificant, lousy, miserable or worthless.
a) Se solicitan 2 pinches de cocina medio turno. (2 kitchen boys are needed for half shifts)
b) Pinche gringo culero ve a chingar a tu reputisima madre! (Fucking gringo asshole go fuck your loosecunt cocksucking mother!)
c) Tu pinche hermana está bien pinche, wey. (Your fucking sister is so fucking ugly, dude!)
by Hugh G Rection April 07, 2005

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