Definition of wetback in English:

wetback

noun

informal, derogatoryUS
  • A Mexican living in the US, especially without official authorization.

    • ‘Off and on for several years we employed a wetback, an illegal alien, who worked around the house and yard.’
    • ‘At times the book is overly laden with abstractions, but having squatted in refugee camps and watched Los Federales hunt down wetbacks, I felt it to be well anchored.’
    • ‘At least in the north a few wetbacks are always to be found.’
    • ‘At the first gig they played in Nashville, the crowd bayed: ‘Get those wetbacks off.’’
    • ‘Of course, cops didn't bother coming this far into the wilderness, unless they had a tip about drug dealers or wetbacks.’
    • ‘If so, the major Latin-American directors are not gilded wetbacks, fleeing home in search of the Yankee dollar.’
    • ‘Oh look at this wonderful American marrying this poor wetback just so she can stay in the country.’
    • ‘In countries such as Spain, governments have turned a blind eye to illegals for decades because they know the farmers need cheap wetback workers (who have no rights) to work in the fields.’

Origin

1920s so named from the practice of swimming the Rio Grande to reach the US.

Pronunciation

wetback

/ˈwɛtbak/