Wise Guy Terms, Mob Lingo

Action - A term that can have several meanings. It could mean the income brought in to Organized Crime from illegal activity, as I want in on the action. Also sometimes used to refer what people are betting on most often and/or how much is being wagered.

Associate - Someone who is not actually in the Mob, but who works for a Made Guy, usually running errands like making deliveries and pickups or sending messages.

Beef - May be a disagreement between two gangsters. It can also be hard feelings felt by one Mafioso toward another. If two Wise Guys had a beef with each other most likely it would have to get settled by one of the higher ups.

Black Book - A keep out list the F.B.I. has on Mafia members or game cheats who are not allowed in certain areas. Al Capone was in the black book. You may remember the movie Casino in which Sam (Bobby DiNero) tells Nikki (Joe Peche) that if he keeps cheating the casino he will end up in the F.B.I. black book.

Book - A person or establishment that accepts wagers on sports betting events such as football or horseracing. A book can be a legal entity, but in most cases it is an illegal operation. Bookmaker - See book. Books - Membership rolls of the Mafia families. The books need to be open to make new members.

Bookie - Short for Bookmaker.

Bookmaker - The one who actually takes the bets.

Borgata - The Family. The basic structural unit of the Mafia society. The Borgata is fashioned after the Roman Empire.

Boss - Sometimes referred to as Godfather or the Don, the boss is the leader or head of a Mafia Family.

Buffer -The person or persons who shields the boss from others knowing he wants someone to carry out an illegal activity. As an example the Don wants someone wacked so he may tell his Capo to get it done, the Capo then tells a wise guy in the family who then gives the order to an associate, sometimes called a connected guy who is looking to score points with the family in the hopes of one day becoming a made guy. In this case there were 2 buffers buffers between the one doing the crime and the Boss.

Bump off - To kill, also: wack, clip, take care of, ice, or take out.

Button - A soldier in a Mafia family. A member who can be called upon by a family boss to perform a hit, or an execution.

Call in - The command for a made member to report to his Higher Ups. Most often the one being called in is not told why, but it usually results in his being bumped off.

Called for - What the made guy says when he was the one being Called in. "I got Called for". It's not good.

Capo - Originally referred to a Mafia boss but in more recent usage refers to a minor leader within a Mafia family, chief of a crew. Also referred to as a captain, skipper or lieutenant.

Capo di tutti capi - Boss of all bosses. This man is over all the Mafia families in a particular area, in New York it would be over the entire Commission. The last real Capo di tutti capi known in the US was John Gotti. Before him and the most well know was Carlo Gambino.

Caporegime - Like a capo, but often used to refer to more important or higher up leaders.

Carry: To have a gun on your possesion.

Clip - To kill or take someone out. It can also mean to steal. “Hey, he Clipped me of 5 Large (5 Thousand dollars).

Clock - Can mean 1 of 3 things; to knock someone out with a blow to the head as in "Im gonna clock him". Having someones M/O, know a persons habits or moves as in "I got your number" (clock). To watch someones daily moves so you know what he's up to, or if he is playing two sides, maybe a rat type of thing.

Commission - The top member or Don of each Mafia family sits on this group. These guys are the ones that make the rules  and interpit rules; the Supreme Court if you will. Only the Commission can give the ok, order or Go-Ahead to kill a Mafia Don (Boss).

Connected - A Made Guys associate is call a connected guy. Low man in the Mafia rank.

Consigliere - In Italian this word means counselor, however the position is in reality not one of council, but more as the one who introduces or brings others to the Don who have a problem or request.

Contract - A term referring to an order to murder someone. To put a contract out is to hire, or give the job to someone to commit murder.

Cosa Nostra - What the Mafia is called in the United States. It is Italian for "our thing."

Do a piece of work: See Clip.

Don: the head of the Family; see boss.

Earner - A member or an associate of the mob that brings in money through either legal or il-legal enterprises.If he is a "Good Earner" he is much more valueable to the Family.

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 Corleones, the Gambinos, or the Sopranos.

Fanabala: The old timers would say "Ah-Fa-Nabala which really means go to Naples. They used this phrase or saying to avoid saying "Go To Hell"  when they were around kids or other people they didnt want to swear in front of. 

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.

Friend of Ours: To introduced a Made Member to another Made Member.

G: a grand; a thousand dollars,  large as in 5 large is 5 thousand dollars.

Gabagool: (capo cuoll) a type of lunchmeat. Can also be slang for a doap, meathead type of guy.

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

Goombah, Goomba, Gumba: Close friend, like a relative

Hit: See Clip.

Ice: What else? To have someone Wacked.

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.

Message job: placing the bullet in someone's body such that a specific message is sent to that person's crew or family.

Mezza morta: half-dead.

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

Mobbed up: connected to the mob.

Mobster: one who is in the mob.

Mortadella: derived from the Italian sausage, meaning a loser. As in "Guy's a freakin' mortadella."

Mustache Petes: old-fashioned or older generation Mafiosi.

Omertá:  Mafia vow of silence. In other words, don't rat on your friends. Transgression is punishable by death.

Oobatz: u'pazzu—crazy.

Outfit: Term used only in Chicago for the Mafia, or Mob..

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

Piacere: "Pleasure to meet you."

Piece: A gun 

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."

The Program: The Witness Protection Program.

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.

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.

Skim: To take money from a buisness that causes people to look the other way. In the movie Casino they showed employees of the casino who actually worked for the mob and would take a portion of the gambling money before reporting or counting the earnings for that day. This money would then be "sent Home" delivered to a mob boss or someone very close to the boss.

Skipper: In the ranks of the Mafia the Skipper would be liken to a Cappo (Captain). Starting at the bottom he would be the 3rd rank. Wiseguy, Madeguy, Skipper, the Boss. 

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.

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.

Underboss: the second in command to the boss.

Vig: the interest paid to a loanshark for the loan. Abbreviation of vigorish; also see juice. Usually two points or 2%.

Waste management business: When asked what line of work are you in many wise guys would use this business, Im a union worker was another. It should be noted however the Mob often was associated with and made money with one or both.

Whack: to murder;  hit, pop, burn, put a contract out, See clip,.

Wiseguy: a made guy.

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

Zips: One word for what the American Mafia calls Hit Men from back in the old country. They are sometimes referred to as Cousins or Cugini.

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