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Members of Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán (third generation, 1950)
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Borrowed from Spanish mariachi. The origin of the Spanish word is unclear. It has often been claimed to derive from French mariage (marriage), reputedly because the Europe-born Emperor Maximilian of Mexico (which France had invaded) encouraged the music to be played at weddings. However, new evidence shows the word to have been used prior to the French invasion. Most other theories suggest indigenous roots. See Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg Mariachi#Name on Wikipedia.Wikipedia



mariachi (not comparable)

  1. Of or pertaining to a traditional form of Mexican music, either sung or purely instrumental.
  2. Of or pertaining to a band playing such music, or to the singers of such songs.


mariachi (plural mariachis)

  1. A traditional form of Mexican music, either sung or purely instrumental.
  2. A group that plays mariachi music.
    • 2002, Leonor Xóchitl Pérez, 8: Transgressing the Taboo: A Chicana's Voice in the Mariachi World, Norma Elia Cantú, Olga Nájera-Ramírez (editors), Chicana Traditions: Continuity and Change, page 151,
      At her first performance with an all-male mariachi, the oldest member said to the musical director, [] (No! I've never played with a woman; I'm not going to start now [my translation]).
    • 2004, "Mariachi," entry in Cordelia Candelaria, Peter J. García, Arturo J. Aldama (editors), Encyclopedia of Latino Popular Culture, Volume 2, page 520,
      Today Plaza Garibaldi near the center of Mexico City is considered the home of mariachis, where mariachi musicians congregate in the plaza, waiting for patrons and tourists to audition them and invite them to perform. [] Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán has been considered the premier Mexican mariachi for nearly a century.
  3. A member of such a group.
    • 1959, Tom Lehrer (music), “In Old Mexico”:
      The mariachis would serenade / and they would not shut up till they were paid.


Alternative forms[edit]

Spanish Wikipedia has an article on:
Wikipedia es


In Mexican Spanish, from French mariage (marriage), because such bands performed at wedding celebrations. (Debated, see above)



mariachi m (plural mariachis)

  1. A traditional form of music from the Mexican state of Jalisco.
  2. A mariachi band.
  3. A musician in such a band.
  4. (by extension, Mexico) An instrumental ensemble accompanying other types of popular Mexican dance and song.


Further reading[edit]