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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Wop is a pejorative slur for Italians or people of Italian descent.


The Merriam-Webster dictionary states wop's first known use was in the United States in 1908, and that it originates from the Southern Italian dialectal term guappo, roughly meaning "dandy", "dude", or "stud", derived from the Spanish term guapo, meaning "good-looking", "dandy", from Latin vappa for "sour wine", also "worthless fellow".

In Neapolitan and other Southern Italian dialects, guappo is pronounced as wah-po.

As Southern Italian dialects often feature unaspirated stops or "swallow" the final vowels in a word, guappo would often sound closer to wahpp to American or Anglo ears. Guappo historically refers to a type of flashy, boisterous, swaggering, dandy-like man in the Naples area. The word eventually became associated with members of the Camorra and has often been used in the Naples area as a friendly or humorous term of address among men. The word likely transformed into the slur "wop" following the arrival of Italian immigrants into the United States, Italian immigrant males would often refer to one another as "guappo" in a jocular or playful manner; as these Italian immigrants often worked as manual laborers in the United States, their native-born American employers and fellow laborers took notice of the Italians' playful term of address and eventually began deploying it as a derogatory term for all Italians.

The term "guappo" was especially used by older Italian immigrant males to refer to the younger Italian male immigrants arriving in America.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Wop" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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