The Godmother’s Mafia Dictionary
Every profession has buzz words that you need to know if you want to fit in. If you want to understand what the cugines, capos and consiglieri in the borgata are talking about, The Godmother’s Mafia Dictionary will clue you in.
Discover what life with the Mafia was really like, how a woman existed in that world of men and faced one challenge and danger after another. Click on the link below to read excerpts and learn more about Georgia Durante and her book The Company She Keeps. It’s a story of how one woman not only survived The Mob but also an abusive husband. Read how Georgia set out to build a new life and wound up with a lot of wild days along the way.
Administration: the top-level “management” of an organized crime Family — the boss, underboss and consigliere. associate: one who works with mobsters, but hasn’t been asked to take the vow of Omert·; an almost confirmed, or made guy. books, the: a phrase indicating membership in the Family. If there is a possibility for promotion, then the books are open. If not, the books are closed.
A Friend Of Ours: mob shorthand for introducing one made guy to another made guy. “A friend of mine” is just another jamook on the street.
A trippa di zianata: “your aunt’s tripe.”
Action: a bet that a bookie “writes” and for which you pay him his “vig.”
Administration: the top-level “management” of an organized crime Family&mdashthe boss, underboss, and consigliere.
Agita: anxiety, edginess, an upset stomach.
Anti-Trust Violations: what authorities call the mob practice of carving out exclusive territories. Wiseguys call them “mine.”
Associate: one who works with mobsters, but hasn’t been asked to take the vow of Omert·; an almost confirmed, or made guy. The Books: a phrase indicating membership in the Family. If there is a possibility for promotion, then the books are open. If not, the books are closed.
Boss: the head of the Family who runs the show. He decides who gets made and who gets whacked. The boss also gets points from all Family business; also see: don, chairman.
Borgata: an organized crime Family.
Buon’ anima: salutation meaning rest his soul.
Buttlegging: bootlegging untaxed cigarettes.
Cafone: a peasant or lower-class.
Capo: the Family member who leads a crew; short for capodecina.
captain: a capo.
Cazzis: see Stugots.
Che bruta: How ugly you are.
Che peccato: what a pity, what a shame.
Clip: to murder; also whack, hit, pop, burn, put a contract out.
Code Of Silence: not ratting on your colleagues once you’ve been pinched — no longer a strong virtue in organized crime families. Also see omert·
Col tempo la foglia di gelso diventa seta: old Italian saying meaning, “Time and patience change the mulberry leaf to satin.”
Come Heavy: to walk in carrying a loaded gun. You shouldn’t have lunch with a Russian drug dealer unless you “come heavy.” Confirm: to be made; see made guy.
Consigliere: the Family advisor, who is always consulted before decisions are made.
Crew: the group of soldiers under the capo’s command.
Cugine: a young soldier striving to be made.
CW: FBI shorthand for Co-operating Witness.
Don: the head of the Family; see boss.
Eat Alone: to keep for one’s self; to be greedy.
Facia Bruta: ugly face, something you call someone you don’t like.
Family: an organized crime clan, like the Genovese’s, the Gotti’s, or the Soprano’s.
Fanook, or Finook: derived from “finucchiu” or fennel, a derogatory term for homsexual or gay, i.e., people that wiseguys feel nervous around. A “mezzofinook” is half gay, sissy, bi.
Forbidden Fruit: the lure of a wiseguy to a nice Italian girl from the neighborhood.
G: a grand; a thousand dollars; also see large.
Gabagool: (capo cuoll) something to eat.
Garbage Business: euphemism for organized crime.
Gira Diment: going crazy.
Golden Age: The days before RICO.
Goomah (sometimes pronounced “goomar”): a Mafia mistress; also comare.
Guests of the state or Guests of the government: going to prison, doing time.
Heavy: packed, carrying a weapon.
Hit: to murder; also see whack.
In the wind: after you leave the Witness protection program you are “in the wind,” meaning you’re on your own somewhere out there.
Jamook: idiot, loser, lamebrained, you know, a jamook.
Juice: the interest paid to a loanshark for the loan; also see vig.
Lam: To lay lown, go into hiding
Large: a thousand, a grand, a G.
LCN: FBI talk for La Casa Nostra, or translated, “Our Thing.”
Madonn’: Madonna, common expression meaning holy smoke, holy cow, holy shit.
Made Guy: an indoctrinated member of the Family.
Mannagge: going to war with a rival clan or family. Mattresses, going to, taking it to, or hitting the: going to war with a rival clan or family.
Message Job: placing the bullet in someone’s body such that a specific message is sent to that person’s crew or family; see through the eye, and through the mouth.
Mezza morta: half-dead.
Mob, The: a single organized crime family; OR all organized crime families together.
Mobbed Up: connected to the mob.
Mobster: one who is in the mob.
Mock execution: to whip someone into shape by frightening the shit out of them.
Moe Green Special: Getting killed with a shot in the eye, like the character, Moe Green, in The Godfather. One form of “sending a message.”
Mortadella: derived from the Italian sausage, meaning a loser. As in “Guy’s a fuckin’ mortadella.”
Mulignan (literal translation): eggplant. Another word for African-Americans. Also called “mooleys.”
OC: FBI talk for Organized Crime.
Omert: to take a vow of silence in the Mafia, punishable by death if not upheld.
Outfit: a clan, or family within the Mafia.
Paying Tribute: giving the boss a cut of the deal.
Piacere: “Pleasure to meet you.”
Pinched: to get caught by the cops.
Points: percent of income; cut.
Poverett: poor person.
Predicates: an offense which the Justice Department can choose to “fold into” a RICO statute. As in, “This charge could be tough. It could have predicates.”
Program, The: The Witness Protection Program.
Pump And Dump: standard practice for unethical stockbrokers. First drive up the price of a small stock by “encouraging” investors to buy it (“pump”) and then sell you own shares (“dump”) for a tidy profit.
Puttana: whore. Rat: one who snitches or squeals after having been pinched.
RICO: Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. Passed in 1970 to aid the government in clamping down on organized crime activities, its scope has since been broadened to prosecute insider traders and anti-abortion protesters.
Schifosa: ugly woman.
Sfogliatelle: an Italian pastry.
Shake Down: to blackmail or try to get money from someone; also to give someone a scare.
Shy: the interest charged on loans by loansharks.
Shylock Business: the business of loansharking.
Soldier: the bottom-level member of an organized crime Family, as in “foot soldiers.”
Spring cleaning: cleaning up, hiding or getting rid of evidence.
Stugots: from stu cazzo or u’ cazzu, the testicles. Tony’s boat is The Stugots.
Taste: a percentage of the take. Tony gets a big taste from bookmaking or racketeering but only a little taste from medical fraud.
Tax: to take a percentage of someone’s earnings.
This Thing of Ours: a mob family, or the entire mob.
Through the eye: a message job through the eye to say “We’re watching you!”
Through the mouth: a message job through the mouth to indicate that someone WAS a rat.
Tizzun: Neapolitan derogatory term for black person.
Underboss: the second in command to the boss.
Va fa napole: “Go to Naples” (i.e., “Go to hell.”).
Vig: the interest paid to a loanshark for the loan. Abbreviation of vigorish; also see juice.
Waste management business: euphemism for organized crime.
Wearing It: showing off one’s status in the organization by dressing the part. “Wearing it” usually involves an Italian suit, a pinky ring, a hankie in the breast pocket, gold cufflinks, and other ornamentation. Silvio has his own inimitable way of wearing it.
Whack: to murder; also clip, hit, pop, burn, put a contract out.
Wiseguy: a made guy.