Glossary (Mob Terms)
mafia (Mob) Terminology
The Italian-American Mafia has a language of its own, according to Mafia historians and F.B.I. records. Some of this Mafia lingo has entered popular usage, some may be new to you. If you have watched shows like the Sopranos, I am sure you have wondered what the real meaning was for some of these italian mafia terms.
Administration: The top members of the Family, usually composed of the boss, underboss, and consigliere.
Associate: At first you will work for the Family as an associate. Only if you prove yourself will you be sworn in as a full member.
Babbo: A mafia term for an underling who is considered to be useless – you don’t want to be one of these or your days may be numbered.
Big earner: Mafia lingo for someone who makes a lot of money for the family.
Boss: The head of the Family (the Don). He has the ultimate say in all important decisions.
Broken: When a member is demoted in rank.
Button: A Mafia ‘soldier’.
Capo: A Captain in the family.
Capo di tutti capi: The Big Boss – the boss of the strongest Family.
Cleaning: Covering your tracks to ensure that you’re not being followed.
Clip: This means to eliminate someone.
Clock: To keep a person under surveillance.
Comare: A Mafia mistress.
Consigliere: The counsellor to the boss.
Contract: Murder assignment.
Cosa Nostra: Italian for “this thing is ours”.
Cugine: A young ambitious gangster who wants to climb the ranks of power.
Double-decker coffin: A coffin, which has a secret lower compartment used to dispose of a victim.
Enforcer: A member of the Family entrusted to ensuring fulfilment of deals by threats and if necessary killing.
Fanabala: Italian-American dialect, morphed over the years from the phrase, “Va Fa Napoli” which literally mean, “go to Naples” but in the vernacular “go to hell”.
Fanook: Derived from “finocchio”, a derogatory term for homosexual.
Friend of mine: How a third party is introduced whom is not a member of the family but can be vouched for.
Gabagool: Popularized by the Sopranos, Gabagool is slang for capicola, a thinly sliced Italian luncheon meat, taken from the shoulder (collo) and neck (capo – head) of a pig.
Ice: This is another request for you to kill someone.
Juice: The interest paid on a loan.
Large: A grand, one thousand. “He owes me fifty large!” means ($50,000.00).
Make a marriage: To bring two parties together to “do some business”
Omertá: The code of silence you have to swear when you join the Family.
Pinched: To be arrested.
Rat: A member who violates the Omertá.
Shylock: A person who lends money at an extortionate rate of interest.
Skim: Money taken that is not reported to the IRS.
Turban : “Give him a turban.” Means to crack his head open.
Vig: Italian Mafia lingo for the interest paid to a loan shark for a loan. Usually 2 points or 2%.
Whack: To murder someone.
Young Turk: Mob term for a young defiant Mafia member.
Zips: A derogatory Mafia term American Mafiosi’s use for the Sicilian Mafiosi.