Mobspeak: The Language of the Mafia

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—the 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 Omertá; an almost confirmed, or made guy.

Beef: a complaint or disagreement within the organization, usually discussed during a sit-down with higher-ups in the Family.

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.

Broken: demoted in rank; "knocked down."

an organized crime Family.

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.

Buon' anima:
salutation meaning rest his soul.

Burn: to murder; synonyms: break an egg, clip, do a piece of work, hit, ice, pop, put out a contract on, whack.

Buttlegging: bootlegging untaxed cigarettes.

a "made" member of the Mafia; soldier, wiseguy, goodfella, Man of Honor.

Cafone: a peasant or lower-class.

Capo: the Family member who leads a crew; short for capodecina.

Cazzis: see Stugots.

Che bruta: How ugly you are.

Che peccato: what a pity, what a shame.

Chiacchierone: chatterbox.

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 Omertá.

Col tempo la foglia di gelso diventa seta: old Italian saying meaning, "Time and patience change the mulberry leaf to satin."

Comare (also goomah, goomar, or gomatta): slang for girlfriend or mistress. No self-respecting wiseguy is without one.

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: a trusted Family advisor, who is always consulted before decisions are made. See Tom Hagen in The Godfather.

Contract: a murder assignment.

Crank: speed; in particular, crystal meth.

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.

Do a piece of work: to murder; see burn.

Don: the head of the Family; see boss.

Eat alone: to keep for one's self; to be greedy.

Enforcer: a person who threatens, maims, or kills someone who doesn't cooperate with Family rules or deals.

Executive Game: a special-event card game for celebrities and other high-rollers.

Facia bruta:
ugly face, something you call someone you don't like.

Family: an organized crime clan, like the Genoveses, the Gottis, or the Sopranos.

Forbidden Fruit: the lure of a wiseguy to a nice Italian girl from the neighborhood.

Friend of mine: introduction of a third person who is not a member of the Family but who can be vouched for by a Family member.

G: a grand; a thousand dollars; also see large.

Gabagool: (capo cuoll) something to eat.

Gira diment: going crazy.

Golden Age:
The days before RICO.

Goomah (sometimes pronounced "goomar"): a Mafia mistress; also comare.

GoombahGoomba, Gumba: Sicilian slang for the Italian compare; plural: goombata

Guests of the state
or Guests of the government: going to prison, doing time.

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 low, go into hiding.

Large: a thousand, a grand, a G.

LCN: FBI talk for la Cosa Nostra, or translated, "Our Thing."

Made guy: an indoctrinated member of the Family. Essentially, you pledge your allegiance to the boss and the family for life. To even qualify, your mother has to be Italian.

Make a marriage: to bring two parties together for legitimate or illegitimate Family issues.

Madonna, common expression meaning holy smoke, holy cow, holy shit.
Mannagge: 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:

The Mob:
a single organized crime family; OR all organized crime families together.

Mobbed up: connected to the mob.

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."

(literal translation): eggplant. Another word for African-Americans. Also called "mooleys."


Mustache Petes: old-fashioned or older generation Mafiosi.

FBI talk for Organized Crime.

the much-vaunted Mafia vow of silence. In other words, don't rat on your friends. Transgression is punishable by death.

Oobatz: u'pazzu—crazy.

Outfit: a clan, or family within the Mafia.

Paying tribute
: giving the boss a cut of the deal.

"Pleasure to meet you."

to get caught by the cops.

Points: percent of income; cut.

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."

The Program:
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.


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.

an Italian pastry.

Shakedown: 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.

Stand-up guy:
someone who refuses to rat out the Family no matter what the pressure, offer, or threat.

Strunz: strunzo—piece of shit.

Swag: stolen goods.

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.

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. Usually two points or 2%.

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.

to murder; also clip, hit, pop, burn, put a contract out.

a made guy.

Young Turks: Younger, less traditional generation of Mafiosi. Less likely to live by the old rules.