Guido (slang)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Guido (/ˈɡwd/, Italian: [ˈɡwiːdo]) is a North American subculture, slang term, and ethnic slur referring to working-class urban Italian-Americans. The guido stereotype is multi-faceted. More recently, it has come to refer to working-class urban Italian-Americans who conduct themselves in an overtly macho manner or belong to a particular working-class urban Italian-American subculture. Guidettes are the female version; usually are very undereducated, low class workers and work as hookers [1] The time period in which it obtained the later meaning is not clear, but some sources date it to the 1970s or 1980s. The term is not used in Italy.[2][3][4]


The word "guido" is derived from the Italian given name "Guido", originally the Italian version of the French given name Guy. Fishermen of Italian descent were often called "Guidos" in medieval times.[5]

Contentious use[edit]

Self-proclaimed guido Michael "The Situation" Sorrentino from Jersey Shore, wearing typical clothing associated with the subculture: gold chain, black leather jacket, and quiff.

The term is used in states and metropolitan areas associated with large Italian-American populations, such as New York City, New Jersey, Connecticut, Buffalo, Chicago, Detroit, Ohio, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Boston, and Providence.[6] In other areas, terms such as "Cugine" (Brooklyn), "Mario" (Chicago) and "Gino" (Toronto) have a meaning similar to guido.[4] Although some Italians self-identify as "guidos", the term is often considered derogatory or an ethnic slur.[4][7]

MTV caused controversy in 2009 when they used the term in promotions for the reality television show Jersey Shore.[4] This spurred objections from Italian-American organizations such as Unico National, NIAF, the Order Sons of Italy in America,[8][9] and the Internet watchdog organization ItalianAware.[10][11] Although MTV removed the term from some promotions, it remains closely associated with the show, and some of the cast members use it regularly to describe themselves while the females sometimes refer to themselves as a "guidette."[4]

According to author and professor Pellegrino D'Acierno, "guido" is a derogatory term for stereotypical working class or lower class Italian-American males, "a pejorative term applied to lower-class, [Italian-American], macho, gold-amulet-wearing, self-displaying neighborhood boys [...] [with a] penchant for cruising in hot cars [...] Guidette is their gum-chewing, big-haired, air-headed female counterpart."[12] In regards to the "guido" stereotype and the depiction of working class Italian-American communities in American film, Peter Bondanella contends that: "Although some films view the working class as a potentially noble and dignified group, others see the working-class Italian American as a Guido or Guidette - part of a tasteless, uneducated […] group of characters with vulgar gold chains, big hair, and abrasive manners."[13]


Clothing often associated with the "Guido" stereotype includes gold chains[1] (often herringbone chains, figaro chains, cornicellos, or saints' medallions), pinky rings, oversized gold or silver crucifixes, rosaries worn as necklaces, working class clothing such as plain white T-shirts, muscle shirts[14] or "guinea Ts", leather jackets, sweat or tracksuits, coppola caps or scally caps, unbuttoned dress shirts, Italian knit shirts, designer brand T-shirts such as Armani,[15] and often typical Southern Italian "tamarro" or "truzzo" club dress.[16] Slicked-back hair and pompadours,[3] blowouts, tapers, quiffs, fades and heavily pomaded hair[2] are also common stereotypes.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Edward Guthmann (July 18, 1997). "'Guido' Light On Swagger". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved December 17, 2009.
  2. ^ a b Libby Copeland (July 6, 2003). "Strutting Season". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 17, 2009.
  3. ^ a b Maria Miro Johnson (August 28, 1988). "High school: Where the wrong sneakers can turn a Skate Rat into an outcast". Providence Journal-Bulletin. Retrieved December 17, 2009.
  4. ^ a b c d e Caryn Brooks (December 12, 2009). "Italian Americans and the G Word: Embrace or Reject?". Time. Archived from the original on December 15, 2009. Retrieved December 18, 2009.
  5. ^ Bondanella, Peter E. Hollywood : Dagos, Palookas, Romeos, Wise Guys, and Sopranos(2005) (ISBN 978-0826417572)
  6. ^ Tricario, Donald (Spring 1991). "Guido: Fashioning An Italian-American Youth Style" (PDF). Journal of Ethnic Studies. 19 (1): 44–66. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-19.
  7. ^ Wayne Parry (July 19, 2008). "NJ beach town mayor sez 'Fuhgeddaboudit!' to blog". USA Today. Retrieved December 17, 2009.("he referred to as 'guidos', employing a term widely considered an ethnic slur...")
  8. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-05-31. Retrieved 2010-11-30.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ "Italian-American Groups Ask MTV to Cancel 'Jersey Shore'". Fox News. November 25, 2009.
  10. ^ "osiarelease". Retrieved 2010-09-02.
  11. ^ "Italian groups target MTV". 2009-12-04. Retrieved 2010-09-02.
  12. ^ D'Acierno, Pellegrino (1999). Cinema Paradiso: The Italian American Presence in American Cinema. Taylor & Francis. p. 628.
  13. ^ Bondanella, Peter (2004). Hollywood Italians: Dagos, Palookas, Romeos, Wise Guys, and Sopranos. A&C Black. p. 90. ISBN 9780826415448.
  14. ^ Betsy Israel (1993-05-09). "Rave at Close of Day? You Betcha". The New York Times. Retrieved December 17, 2009.
  15. ^ Guido DiErio with Rick Marinara (2010). Fist Pump: An In-Your-Face Guide to Going Guido. Running Press. p. 131.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  16. ^ Cynthia Drescher (2010-03-02). "Banned: Jersey Shore Brands Ed Hardy, Affliction, Christian Audigier". Retrieved 2019-11-29.