What does RATERO mean in Mexican Spanish? Consider the following examples in their context.

Ratero translates to thief in Mexican Spanish

Rat image by Amplion on shutterstock

🐀 RATS are disgusting. They enter our homes and gnaw away at our valuables. In much the same way, burglars break in and carry away our prized possessions.

Clearly, Mexican Spanish makes the connection between these disgusting rodents and thieves. Here, ratero is the common word for bandits of any kind. It has a distinctive negative connotation and equates to a stinking thief, or a lousy burglar.

Examples of ratero in the media

Consider the following uses of ratero taken from headlines in the Mexican media:

From the site Récord:

⚽ Canelo Álvarez llama ratero a Oscar de la Hoya.

🏈 Canelo Álvarez calls Oscar de la Hoya a cheat.

From the newspaper El Sol de San Juan del Río:

⚽ Atoraron a ratero de una pipa cargada con gasolina.

🏈 Gasoline tanker truck thief is stopped.

From the newspaper El Informador:

⚽ Policías sorprenden a ratero mientras hurtaba en una cafetería.

🏈 Police surprise a burglar while he was robbing a coffee shop.

Examples of ratero in reference works

Mexican dictionaries have included this term in their entries for decades. Consider:

From the Diccionario didáctico del español mexicano:

⚽ ¿Sabía que lo corrieron por ratero y mariguano?

🏈 Did you know they fired him for being a thief and for using marijuana?

From El Chilangonario, a local dictionary of terms common in Mexico City:

⚽ Si van a ser rateros, que roben bien, ¿por qué nos quitan a los que no tenemos?

🏈 If you are going to be thieves, steal well. Why should you take things away from those of us who have nothing?

Examples of ratero in Mexican Spanish sayings

Here’s a saying in which ratero figures prominently:

Ratero que se vuelve ojo de hormiga, que Dios lo bendiga.

🏈 May God have mercy on the soul of the thief who tries to escape.

This rich saying is full of colorful expressions that only Mexicans understand. For example, it is said that the robber literally becomes the eye of an ant. Few insect body parts are more minisicule than the puny eye of an ant. For this reason, when a person figuratively becomes the eye of an ant, it means he disappears. By adding May God bless him at the end of the phrase, the implication is that the poor thief will be mercilessly pursued by those who may try to lynch him.


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