Second Attempt at Mafia Lingo Query

Peter Farruggio pfarr at UCLINK4.BERKELEY.EDU
Thu Jan 20 22:07:08 UTC 2000

Some of these are not specific to the "mafia" but to Southern Italian
dialects transported to the US by immigrants circa 1900-1920

goombah - compadre (but pronounced in Neopolitan or Sicilian dialect with
the standard Italian "o" sounded as "oo" and the d slurred)  means a
fictive co-parent, the godfather of one's child

cugines - again, the dialect pronunciation of the Italian word for cousin
(in NY Italian circles, a term used loosely to refer to almost anybody of
one's own generation who is considered to be socially close) (Don't know
how to spell this one in standard Italian)

agita - (stress on the initial syllable)  means a sick stomach or
queasiness.  Believed to derive from acida  [there have been debates about
this because it's invented in America]  (acid, as in stomach acid)  This is
a NY creation, I believe they don't use this in Italy to express an upset
stomach (caused by bad food or aggravation usually)

stugots - from "questo e il cazzo" (this is the penis) as pronounced in
dialect (keestugots) which changes standard Italian "questo" (kwesto) to
"keestu" and eliminates final vowel sounds ("cazzo" to "cahtz") and which
slurs  interior vowels like crazy.  It's meaning in usage is like "kiss my
ass" in the sense of "this is my you can suck it!"

Can't help with the others, but they look American, not Italian-derived


Pete Farruggio

At 12:45 PM 1/20/00 , you wrote:
>Since I have been beating my head against a board on this one that "into
>the witness protection program" was exactly the laugh I needed - thanks.
>But to be more specific how 'bout the actual words/phrases:
>come heavy
>"eating alone"
>Other than calling La Casa Nostra myself I am at a loss. I have Dow Jones,
>and Lexis and NYTIMES past as well as access to JSTOR and the rest. I'm
>finding nothing of substance. Any help would be greatly appreciated and
>would save my sanity. (If I had any to begin with :))
>Katy Miller
>Safire's office.

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