The term chingón is used in Mexico to refer to someone or something that is very good or stands out in a certain field, although it has different meanings depending on the context. The concept is used in colloquial or mexican slang to describe something extremely astonishing or amazing.
The verb chingar and its multiple derivatives, which are of general use in Mexican have in the insult: "Chinga tu madre", the emblematic expression of Mexican popular culture. The use of the verb chingar in Mexico is related to a wide range of words.
The positive meaning of the adjective chingón
The adjective chingón has acquired several meanings or translation over time. The term was traditionally associated with the ability to excel by abusing people and thus doing everything possible to obtain what was desired. Such an individual would be admired, but on the other hand, would also spread fear. Following this association, the term refers to:
- a clever person, capable of anything and everything;
- the good individual, of great value;
- the rich, important, the man of great power, prestige, or influence.
The Dictionary of Mexican Idioms (Academia Mexicana de la Lengua 2010) states that the term chingón refers to someone "who is competent in an activity or branch of knowledge" or something "very beautiful or of excellent quality".
Chingón (adj): " He is a chingón musician" (virtuoso) / "He is a chingón for mathematics" (outstanding).
El Chingonario points out that the term chingón "designates to a high degree the characteristics of a person, situation or thing, in such a way that it leaves everything else short". It also states that "if the person who applies it does it to himself, it can mean presumption or arrogance, but if he attributes it to a third party, it denotes admiration". The term chingón is used to describe someone/something with positive qualities.
The negative meaning of the adjective chingón
However, it is a term full of ambivalence" and notes that it is often used to characterize people or things/situations that present highly negative qualities. The Mexican Manual of Colloquial Spanish also suggests an ambivalence on the part of the term and provides the reader with two types of meanings. First, it offers a meaning of positive association, similar to those presented above, and at the end, it reports that the term can designate the individual who annoys.
" Este cantante es bien chingón" ("This singer is chingón"), for example, is an expression of praise for the artist in question. On the other hand, "Aquel cabrón se cree muy chingón por pegarle a su esposa" ("That bastard thinks he's so chingón for beating his wife") implies a derogatory or disparaging comment about an individual who believes he deserves praise for his actions, even though in reality they are reprehensible by society in general.
The Red-Hot Book of Spanish Slang and Idioms likewise recognizes such a dichotomy and maintains that the term chingón also designates an annoying or bothersome person.
Chingón is so closely associated with Mexican culture that the word appears in the name of numerous commercial establishments around the world.
The adjetive and noun of "chingón"
chingón (feminine chingona, masculine plural chingones, feminine plural chingonas)
You will know, from the context, if it refers to a very successful person. Now you know the meaning of this Mexicanism meaning chingón in English.