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The common Mexican informal expression "güey/buey" (written as "wey" in text).

  • Where did it come from?
  • Since when did it become a common expression?

Examples:

  1. A que güey estás. (You are so dumb.)
  2. Aquel güey siempre esta descansando. (That guy is always resting.)
  3. Oye güey que hiciste ayer. (What did you do yesterday?)
  4. Si güey. (Yes.)
  5. No güey. (No.)
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I've always heard "güey", not "buey". –  Gonzalo Medina Nov 24 '11 at 17:08
    
I've seen "buey" used in the Spanish from Spain as well. –  Alenanno Nov 24 '11 at 17:08
    
I think both are used interchangeable. RAE have entries for both. Although when we speak it it sounds like güey. –  Alfredo Osorio Nov 24 '11 at 17:16
    
Thank you edited and changed to güey. –  Alfredo Osorio Nov 24 '11 at 17:24
    
I believe that it has a lot to do with the influence of bullfighting, as a castrated bull (buey) would be docile and easy to guide, being used to farm the land and thus asociated with the idea of dumbness - El que por su gusto es buey, hasta la coyunda lame. And güey/wey is a deformation. –  Omar Salinas Nov 24 '11 at 19:17
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2 Answers

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According to the Academia Mexicana de la Lengua (Mexican Academy of Language), güey is a deformation of "buey" (from Lat. bos, bovis). However, a common trend in Mexican Spanish is for simple words to become very complex terms that change meaning depending on context. Güey may mean stupid, friend, enemy, asshole, deranged, courageous, and a host of terms that are inconsistent most of the time. It can be used as derogatory or superlative.

But it's origin could also be the Náhuatl word "uey", or "huey"*

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Buey translates to ox (typically a castrated bull) in English. –  Jaime Soto Nov 24 '11 at 23:48
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In Mexican border culture, "guey" is the common term for a jackass, in the familiar form, it shows trust between two men to be able to say "What's up asshole?" It is also yet less often used as a derogatory term.

Here in the Rio Grande Valley, depending on the person doing the name calling can earn you anything from a brutal beat down to a slug in the mug, literally. It is pronounced "way" as in which way. Using crude derogatory terms here is how we enforce "rank" and a display of power in front of peers.

To let it get to you in front of others is to show weakness and will usually earn you more of the same or wain of salt and reorse. To accept it with grain of salt return the favor quickly with a little extra spice can ean you respect instead of scorn.

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Where you write "same or wain of salt and reorse" should it be "same or grain of salt and worse"? Though even that wording wouldn't read very clearly for me. –  hippietrail Nov 27 '11 at 10:13
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