In the TV show "From dusk till dawn", many (every?) Mexican characters call a Texas Ranger "pinche rinche", or sometime simply "rinche". I guess from the context that it's some low-key insult.

I understand "pinche" as, in this context, an offensive word, but I don't understand "rinche". Some dictionaries translate it like "corner" (which doesn't seem to make any sense), some others don't list the word at all (which seems to indicate it's slang).

I don't know if it's relevant, but everyone using this term in the show is a criminal tied to a very specific cartel (which doesn't exist in real life - it's a vampire's cartel).

Is it a word that is really used to designate a Ranger (or maybe a cop)? Or is it a term specially invented for this show?

  • I would agree that "pinche" is just another (pejorative) way of referring to law enforcers (like pacos in Chile or madera in Spain). A quick google search highlights that "rinche" is "A pejorative term used for Texas Rangers in Mexico. Border Guard. Literally brimming over." (see here). There are other examples, but I could not figure out the etymology.
    – Diego
    Oct 8, 2020 at 13:24
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    The Urban Dictionary says that rinche is indeed a pejorative term used to refer to the Texas Rangers in Mexico. About etymology, I would wildly guess that "rinche" sounds quite similar to how the word "ranger" is pronounced in English.
    – wimi
    Oct 8, 2020 at 13:25
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    Thanks, so it looks like a very specific term. I tend to agree that "rinche" sounds like "ranger". Urban Dictionary looks like a really valuable source for this kind of stuff, thank you for letting me know. If one of you would have the kindness to write that as an answer, i would upvote it.
    – thibsert
    Oct 8, 2020 at 13:34
  • @thibsert I did not write it as an answer because I still think it is a quite wild guess and I do not have a source. (Urban Dictionary is a good source for English slang, not for Spanish, and it does not mention the etymology of this word). I prefer to wait a bit and see if someone has more information or finds a source. I am happy to have helped though, and welcome to the site!
    – wimi
    Oct 8, 2020 at 13:49
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    "Pinche" means "fucking," and I'm guessing, "rinche" is just to rhyme or to refer to a ranger or a cop, "fuckin cops," "fuckin rangers." My friend just returned from working in Mexico a few months ago and the key phrase there was "pinche Covid." :)
    – Renee
    Feb 17, 2021 at 17:27

4 Answers 4



2. (pejorative) (border guard) (Mexico)

  • Texas ranger
    Los rinches detuvieron a un hombre que intentaba cruzar la frontera. — The Texas Rangers detained a man who was trying to cross the border.

Its etymology is from English ranger, possibly influenced by pinche etc:

El estrecho contacto con EE.UU. genera por su lado la adaptación de voces inglesas: rinche (de ranger, policía militar rural para la represión del bandidaje, análoga a los rurales, pero que designa todo cuerpo policial de EE.UU.)352
352. Paredes va más allá al afirmar que “todo americano armado y montado que sale a matar mexicanos es un rinche para la comunidad del corrido” (“Any American armed and mounted and out to kill Mexicans is a rinche to the corrido folk”) [1958: 220-1], en una detallada reflexión sobre el término donde examina su adaptación fonética y sugiere que es cacofónica y se asocia a voces como chinche o pinche.


"Pinche" is an intensifier, like "fucking", "damn" or "bloody" could be in English. "Rinche" is a Ranger, although it's used more generically for anyone patrolling the border. So a "pinche rinche" would be a "fucking border guard."

In the show, the word is often used when talking about Frederico (a Ranger) or the border crossing and its guards.


To reiterate, you asked what the phrase, "pinche rinche" means.

In Mexico, the verb "to pinch" is slang for "have sexual intercoarse" or "fuck"

For example, if somone were to say the following:

"I pinched the red haired girl last night"

... it would have the same meaning as:

"I had sexual relations with the red-haired girl last night"

Any one of the following are suitable translations of "PINCHE RINCHE":

  • fucking rangers.
  • ranger fuckers
  • fuckings cops
  • fucking policemen.

It could also be as simple as pinche being a kitchen assistant who is just not in charge. Rinche meaning filled to the brim. Perhaps a cook who thinks too highly of themselves but is no chef?

  • 1
    Welcome to the site! Why do you think "rinche" means "filled to the brim"? I have not found that definition online.
    – wimi
    Mar 4, 2021 at 8:26

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