Mexican X-Plainer: Mustachioed Racists?

Looking back over 2018, I can’t help but reflect on all the racism, sanctimoniousness, and false morality used as a smokescreen for prejudiced power-grabbing.

But the thing is … that reminds me of a weird linguistic convergence between English and Spanish that originated more than a thousand years ago.

In the 10th century, a group of Norseman — descendants of Franks, Vikings and Romans — pushed their way deeper into France. Sporting big mustaches and a real sense of ethnic superiority, these “Normans” (as the French called them) were a big pain in the collective derriere.

The Normans. What a bunch of stuck-up bigots, heh.

They also had a habit of swearing “by God” to everything.

In their Germanic tongue, this oath was “bī Got,” similar to the Old English phrase “bī god” sworn across the channel.*

As a result, the French began calling the Normans “bigots.”

Now, over time, this word was generalized to mean ANY overbearing, sectarian, prejudiced jerk.

Thus it passed into English a few centuries later.

Look at the big ol’ mustache on Rollo, the Viking patriarch of the Normans.

However, the word also was associated with “gigantic facial hair.”

That meaning crossed the Pyrenees into Iberia, where it spread into Catalan, Galician, and ultimately Spanish … as “bigote.”


So it is that mustachioed racists may be the most redundant of all.


*Some dismiss the “by God” theory as too on-the-nose. But note that the surnames Bigott, Bygott show up in Normandy and England starting in the 11th century, explained by sources of the time as a derogatory name applied by the French to the Normans and representing “by god.”

Other examples of this sort of insult based on common expression came 200 years later, when the French called the English goddamns. Also, American soldiers in France during WWI earned the sobriquet les sommobiches because of their favorite curse word.