The term Gil is a qualifying adjective used to describe a person who is naive or lacks “liveliness”.
The expression Gil originally comes from Spain, but has become popular between the late 19th and early 20th centuries in Latin America. Argentina has been the country that gave the most uses to the expression, being the place where this word survives the most in everyday life.
The word Gil is considered an archaism, since in past times it was widely used, and during the 20th century it was losing its daily use. Among the population of the popular sectors of Peru, Chile, Ecuador, Colombia and Argentina, it is very common to hear the expression.
In Argentina Gil refers to people who suffer from some disadvantageous situation due to seizure , and is included in the speech of the inhabitants of the whole country.
Tango music is the epicenter of its use. Songs adopted by the popular clamor, use the expression Gil. In the lyrics of the song “Chorra” that Carlos Gardel wrote, he says: a mine scares me so much / that if it sharpens me on the street / I put myself on the side of the button / what annoys me the most / is having been so agile .
In Argentina there is a variant of the word “gil” called “parsley” , used mainly to refer to a person who is attributed with having committed a criminal act without actually doing so. This variant is also a qualifying adjective to refer to a person who, due to lack of personality or firmness, is taken as “stupid”.
The meaning of parsley spread during the 1970s in Argentina, in the context in which parsley was so cheap that it was given away.
The word Gil, among the people who inhabit northeastern Argentina, refers to a Gaucho turned into a saint, very popular among the people. It has altars in every corner of the provinces to bring a gift to “Gauchito Gil” in exchange for protection and prosperity.
The expression Gil in the more urbanized areas, is changed by expressions such as mamerto, turnip, salami and turkey.