Wednesday, August 16, 2006

N'Italian Lessons 101

Several weeks ago I was at a family function in New York. On the way home I was talking to my wife while waving my hands, making faces, and using words and phrases that cracked her up. She astutely pointed out that, whenever I'm in the same room with my relatives for more than five minutes, I make an interesting transition from the well-spoken Ivy League-educated hornster that I usually am to someone who is straight off the set of a Sopranos episode. My first reaction was to throw up my hands and reply "Whaddya talkin?" Her response was a simple "See...that's what I'm talking...about."

Of course, she was right. So, being the ever-inquisitive hornster, I started thinking about this. Here are my conclusions:

In the New York - New Jersey area in particular, many people of Italian-American descent have developed their own version of Italian slang, that I'll call N'Italian. Granted, some of the slang is a pretty brutal bastardization of la bella lingua, but, I grew up with them so they are near and dear to my heart. Some words and expressions have many variations in spelling. For example, the letters 'c' and 'g' are often used in place of one another. Some also have multiple meanings…so hand gestures, facial expression, and body language are often needed to make an accurate interpretation of context…these will be the subject of a future post. They also have their own English slang expressions...that too will be the subject of another post.

Here are a few samples of what I'll call N'Italian 101...a N'Italian/English dictionary of sorts:

gabagool. This is pronounced ga-ba-'gool. It's slang for cappicola, a highly seasoned type of ham that is a popular cold cut.

proshut. This is pronounced pro-'shoot. It's slang for prosciutto, a salt-cured type of ham eaten as a cold cut and used in Italian cooking.

madonna. Pronounced madonn' or mah-'dawn. The literal meaning is 'virgin mary' or 'mother of God,' but its slang meanings are "Oh no!" or "That's too bad" or "Holy shit!" A variation is the expression madonna mia. Sample usage:

Paulie: "Tony, I'm stuck in friggin' traffic, so I'm gonna' be late for the meetin'.
Oh yeah. And I forgot to pickup the gabagool and proshut."

Tony: "Madonn', what the hell else is gonna' go wrong today?"

ming. Pronounced ming'. Often used as a substitute for madonna.

goomah. Pronounced goo-'mah or coo-'mah. This means 'girlfriend,' but it must be used in the proper context. If you're single and have a girlfriend, she's your goomah. Your wife or fiance is NOT your goomah. If you're married or engaged, a goomah is someone you're seeing on the side.

stunad. Pronounced stew-'nod. A person who is stupid, thick, dense. Sample usage:

"I tell him how to do it five times, and he still screws it up. Ming, what a friggin' stunad."

oobatz. Pronounced oo-'botz. It means 'crazy' or 'you're crazy.' Sample usage:

"Friggin' shyster sends me a bill for five grand. I call him up and say 'You think I'm gonna pay this? Oobatz.'"

stugats. Pronounced stew-'gotz. It means 'balls' or 'big balls' or 'you've got some balls.' In the Sopranos, Tony's boat is named Stugats.

fancul. Pronounced fon-'gool. It means to 'go f--- yourself' or 'f--- yourself up the a--.' Variations include va fancul and a fancul.

fanuk. Pronounced fa-'nuke or fi-'nuke. A guy who is gay. Think Vito in the last few episodes of the Sopranos.

In a future post, I'll put these together with some English slang expressions and body language. That's all one needs to carry on a basic conversation.

More words like these can be found in my buddy J.D. Cannon's fast-moving suspense novel Just By Chance...rated 5 Stars on Amazon. Mobsters, a beautiful high-class escort, and a sexy tropical setting...what could be better than that?

Check it out...click on the cover image or here to learn more.

Badaboom Badabing...


If you enjoyed this post you might like to hear what some of these expressions sound like over here.


My Home Page

124 comments:

Duke_of_Earle said...

What's bad is... I can just hear those expressions being said. With, of course, appropriate gestures. Or maybe inappropriate ones, if in mixed company.

Good post.

John

Anonymous said...

OK, so I read your Italian lessons and they aren't bad, but some things need to be clarified i think. So, I hope you don't take offense ot my editing job - or you can just tell me fancul'a'sorella.

MING' - short for MINCHIA which is a Sicilian dialect for cock. SEE: CAZZO

STUGATS - short for Sto'cazzo which is, again, a word meaning dick or my dick or this dick. A less regional "cockism" than minchia.

FANUK - short for finocchio, an Italian word for fennel and vernacular for homosexual man (probably because the bulb fennel plant looks like a cock and balls).

Anonymous said...

Very interesting. Do you know enough Italian to know where they come from? - though some are dialect and not Italian properly speaking.

ming is "minchia", a Sicilian word for the, ah, male member

goomah is probably, "comare", Neapolitan for a married or at least attached lady

oobatz is "o pazzo", Neapolitan and general Southern Italian for, oh, "this nut case". a "pazzo" is an insane person in standard Italian.

stugats is "sto cazzo", which doesn't mean, um, "large-balled" in Italy. It's just a general, if vulgar, exclamation of surprise. A "cazzo" is standard Italian for the male member.

fanuck is "finocchio", slang from Neapolitan for a gay. It means "fennel", a plant that doesn't need cross-pollinizing...

Fra... said...

ming probably comes from the sicilian word for penis, "minchia". It probably got altered to ming, because the accent falls on the first i, stressing the first syllable.

stugats actually comes from the words " 'sto cazzo" , literally, "this dick". It's still used in today's "bella lingua", usually in it's plural form, "'sti cazzi!" as a true manifestation of surprise of the good type.

Fra... said...

ming probably comes from the sicilian word for penis, "minchia". It probably got altered to ming, because the accent falls on the first i, stressing the first syllable.

stugats actually comes from the words " 'sto cazzo" , literally, "this dick". It's still used in today's "bella lingua", usually in it's plural form, "'sti cazzi!" as a true manifestation of surprise of the good type.

Anonymous said...

Just a little info from an Italian-Italian...
Most of the words you mention aren't based on actual Italian, but from Naples or Sicilian dialects.
Also, here are a few ethymologies:

"Gabagool" - Isn't from "cappicola" but from "capocollo".

"Ming" - Is a bastardization of "minchia" (remember Zappa's "Tengo una minchia tanta"?) meaning "penis" in Sicilian.

"Oobatz" - Would be "U' Pazz", literally "The madman", in Naples dialect.

"Stugats" - Is "'stu cazz", Naples dialect from "'sto cazzo", or "this penis".

"Fancul" - Is short for "Va a fare in culo" > "Vaffanculo" > "Fanculo". Losing the ending "o" is typical of Southern dialects.

"Fanuk" - Comes from "Finocchio", literaily "fennel".

gagootz said...

some other words:
mamaluke;
shengaad;
mamone:
agita:

check out www.bubblegumgangster.com

Anonymous said...

does anyone know the real spelling of a phrase that sounds like"taste tan culo in pie e za"
my mom would never tell me what it meant.
thanks
sicilianapachegirl

Phyllis said...

Great blog. I love it. Could anyone tell me what "pezzenovante" means? It was used several times in The Godfather trilogy. I would be very grateful for this information. All four of my Italian dictionaries do not have this word, and I am not sure about the spelling (I spelled it phonetically).

Cybernawns@aol.com

Badabing said...

sicilianapachegirl...doesn't ring a bell with me.

phyllis...Glad you like the blog. These are all phrases (mostly bastardizations) from my childhood growing up in New York. I'm not familiar with that phrase, though if I watch any of the Godfather movies (they're among my favorites)I might be able to figure it out. I'll post if that happens.

Phyllis said...

First, let me thank you for your kind offer. Next, interestingly, I think a friend and I figured it out last night. After having searched the Web, and coming up short, I finally found a reasonable interpretation for the word pezzanovanti. If you separate "pezza" and "novanti," you get the following:

pezza = piece
novanti = plural of ninety

On one of "The Godfather" websites, I discovered that the ninety stands for .90 calibre. Naturally, "novanta" means ninety. So,a .90 calibre "piece" could mean a .90 calibre gun, or, a big shot. And the way it was used in The Godfather trilogy, seems to confirm this interpretation. When you watch the trilogy again, see if you agree.

Thanks again.
Phyllis
Cybernawns@aol.com

Anonymous said...

the word mamone was mentioned, but no definition was given

Carmine Falzarano said...

i had a good time reading these. i love italian slang, and can definitely appreciate the new york/jersey versions...too bad some of the other people that read your post didnt take into consideration the origin of these slang words. you said yourself some were rough cut.

come il cacio sui maccheroni!

Badabing said...

Glad you enjoyed them Carmine.

Death Dog said...

Great blog!!
Reminded me of my Sundays spent at my Aunt's house in Garfied with lots of cousins, second cousins, olives, square white pizzas and my uncle Tony.
On yesterday's Sopranos, Paulie said to Patsi "We'll discuss this in the pistadore(?)" and they went to the men's room. I've been trying to figure out exactly what he said and the closest I'v gotten so far is 'piscione'. Any other suggestions?

Anonymous said...

Piscio means Piss in Italian slang. I think he is saying Pisciotore... Or, Pisser....

Badabing said...

Yes...I think he's saying "we'll discuss it in the pisser"...the bathroom.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I think the real word should be 'pisciatoio' (pee-sha-tow-ee-oh).
About the meaning, your right.

Anonymous said...

The word 'mammone' means a boy or a man who always looks for his mum's help: 'mamma' means 'mum'.

genjr said...

The men in my mother's family always used as expression the sounded like,"Ma naw ja" when upset. If I said it, I was in trouble. But no one would tell me what it meant. BTW, they were from southern Italy.

Badabing said...

genjr,

The word is probably 'mannaggia' (mah 'nah gia). I can still hear my father and uncles using it when they were ticked off. I believe it technically means 'darn' though some use it as 'damn.' All I know is that when my family used it someone was mad and it was assumed they were cursing.

Anonymous said...

This site is soooooo 'MEDICAHN

Anonymous said...

I highly agree that this site is so medican (if that's the way you spell it) since it does not exist in the italian dictionary. I was born in Italy and raised in the US. The words you are using are slangs or come from different dialects, from different parts of Italy. Some words are just made up by second and third generation italians. 95% of Italians in Italy speak the proper Italian, which they take pride in, considering it is such a beautiful language and to tell you the truth when they hear someone speak in a southern Italian dialect, they look down on you. I don't find this site offense, I find it comical. It is another misconception of what Italians really are like, just like the Sopranos and the Godfather. Italians have had the greatest minds and talents DaVinci, Bottecelli just to name a few. And by the way, I'm curious to know, is the created of this website second, third or fourth generation?

Sarge said...

95 percent of Italians in Italy speak Proper Italian?
Does this means that only 5 percent of Italians speak their own Dialect, or that the Southern peaple who speak Dialect (which they learned growing up in Italy) are not Italians? I don"t think so !
A comare is a godmother. A woman on the side is also called a "comare".

Anonymous said...

Could someone please tell me what "fasanune" ( I am spelling from memory and phonetically...sorry!) means? I heard it in Caddyshack 2 (I know, my husband was watching!) He says in the movie it means something to the effect that it is a person who passes gas in the bathtub and enjoys the bubbles...I don't know if it's really a word, but if it is, I have some clients at my job who deserve this title...THANKS!

Anonymous said...

my grandmother was neopolitan and used to say a rhyme to us as babies, spelled phonetically...
"moosha mooshaella, froosta froosala..." i can't remember the rest - anyone recognize this? and know the whole thing?

Anonymous said...

I believe that pezzanovante loosely translated would be a peasant, which I believe would refer to an uneducated or unenlighted person. Someone with no sophistication, vision or understanding. Someone of no consequence

Paolo Uzzo said...

My family comes from the regions of Palermo, Napoli, Trapani, and Calabria. Though my family took it all the way to the Bronx a while ago. My dad is a such a class-A goombah that it's laughable, and seems to use all of these instances of N'Italian on a regular basis... he usually refers to pompous or unknown people as "Joey Boombotz", "Vinny Doot Da Doot", "Suzy Googotz" and the like. However, like many people have said, "ming/minchia" is Sicilian for either "cock" or "penis"; it's still at debate.

Anonymous said...

Paolo again... By the way, my dad is a frequent user of "mannaggia" (I believe it means "damn it"), which is shortened to "mannagg'" in his NY dialect. When surprised, he wraps up three instances of N'Italian... the result is "minchia madonna mannagg'!"

Badabing said...

Paolo...that's exactly how my uncles would pronounce it too.

Anonymous said...

I got a huge charge out of your definitions! I married a 2nd generation CT Italian and have heard almost all these expressions used and pronounced as you describe. My late, darling father-in-law would smile devilishly when he toasted, "Va fancul!"

BTW, can you define "mehja (spelled phonetically/from memory)" stunad?

Anonymous said...

Can anybody out there clarify what
"CHIDIBEEP"(sic)MEANS? We used to
use it in the early 60's.

Adam J. said...

Alright -the variation in pronounciation is NOT slang. The southern Italian Dialects of Calabrese and Siciliano among others substitute "g's" for "c's." etc.

BShooner said...

Cool blog. I read Mario Puzzo's 'The Sicilian' (very good by the way). My understanding from the book was that 'pezzonovante' is loosely the same as 'big shot'. Think of Don Cicci walking through the town during the festival-like a proud rooster...a man with real power. Yet in the book it was almost derogatory-as if it's someoen who thinks they have real power whether they do or not, and it sometimes leads to foolishness-like Christopher Molasanti shooting the pastry clerk's foot.

Anonymous said...

Very Interesting...
Someone managed to overlook the beauty of a very valid subculture to comment that the words on this list are not actually italian, but dialect/slang. Yet that very person used a word that's not actually in the italian dictionary(but slang) to describe his or her distate. What a farce!

I know this post is almost 2 years old, yet I was compelled to comment.
I am a culturalist of some sorts. Recently, I have been investigating concepts of subcultures, "adjuct cultures", and "neo resurrected" cultures.



I found this blog while browsing the web in search of the meaning of an italian american term that I have heard often. No luck yet.


I absolutely enjoyed the knowledge and anecdotal evidence shared here.

Continue to be proud of your culture and your combined heritage: Italian(albeit Southern or Northern--at the end of the day it's all Italian!) and American. It is the core and the center stone of your being!

Paul P. DiLillo said...

eh........Madonn' Us Chi-Sicilian' (Chicago Siciliana) say Ming-k or Ming-kay! And how 'bout dis one, "GIUDRULONE.?" (JOO-DROOL-OON-AY). Another Goof or an idiot!


PaulieWalnuts

Anonymous said...

pezzenovante means a guy who weighs 90 kilos. 90 x 2.2 pounds = 198 pounds. This is a heavyweight.
Like a heavyweight boxer.

You don't mess with a heavyweight!
Some guys are light weight, they are tough but they don't mess with the heavyweights....the "pezze novanti"

Vincent said...

How about, and i think it sounds out to, midigan or mitigan ( mid-e-gone ), meaning American, i.e. anybody not Italian usually implying a bland or wonder bread connotation - similar to the Amish calling anyone not Amish, English.

Anonymous said...

SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME WHAT "AZUPEP" MEANS!!

Anonymous said...

"AZUPEP": I think you mean "zuppa" or "soup"; As in "zuppa di pesce" (literal: fish soup). As I know it, it means seafood in tomato sauce, like calamari, shrimp, and mussels.

Paul P. DiLillo said...

Vincent- A Midigan, anybody named Steve, lol! Madonne!

Ayesha said...

I grew up in Connecticut and mostly remember the foods being pronounced a certain way. My mom used to order pizza with "scum-oats" (scamorze). Then there's "ganolli" (canolli, YUM), "mootzarell'", "gollamott" (calamari). And pasta was "macaroni", usually served with "gravy".

We're not Italian, but had plenty of Italian-American friends. The nicest people, the best cooks.

Anonymous said...

I'm Anglo-Italian, my parents came from southern Italy to England, UK in the 50's.

Why is it that despite the fact I live in the UK; a country with lesser violence, lesser gang warefare and very little or no Italian Mafia activity than that of the US, that I often feel like I want to stick a fork in my neighbours fucking eye when they park their car over my drive.

I think this is the southern Italian mentallity coming out of me - very long memories and little respect for those that piss me off.

Cindy said...

I wish I knew how long ago these posts were written, but here are my opinions/thoughts/memories on some of the posts:
Goomah is a Godmother [Comare], just like a Goombah is a Godfather [not sure of the spelling, Compare, possibly] - I had a Goomah Connie who had Baptized my mother and if you say, "Comare" fast it sounds like Goomah, the same applies for the masculine opposite of the word, Goombah, Compare.
And Managgia [phonetic: Man ah jah], I think means, "My Aggita" or "I'm gettin' Aggita" or "You're giving me Aggita" which we all know means heartburn, lol...and last but not least, Mincchia, translates to [everyone was close :-)] Dick, as in Testa di Mincchia, Dickhead...hahaha...that's all I have for now :-) and thanks for the blog, it brought back memories, I found it looking for Come su dici, which I thought was slang for Whatta ya say? but I still can't figure it out...

Ciao!

Anonymous said...

I'm not how to spell it nor say but is there such a word called menzagorsh? If so, how is it spelled and what does it mean?

Anonymous said...

"Compare" means your close friend, the godfather of your children, or the guy who is making you "cornuto" with your wife. Hence the expression by Don Corleone, "You never called me Godfather" (compare) even though his wife was the godmother of the baker's daughter.
"Mammone" is an adult son who still lives at home with his mother. It literally means " a milk fed calf". See the movie "I Vitelloni". It means the same thing.
"Mopeen" is a dish towel. "chadrool" is a cucumber, or a person with no personality or smarts.

angloam said...

Is there any truth to the idea I've heard that the '-gazzo' in 'ragazzo' is the same as the 'cazzo' in 'Sto cazzo.'

My Italian other half finds "sto cazzo" and "va fa 'n culo" inexpressibly rude and vulgar.

I do think that "sto cazzo" was an expression of dismayed surprise.

I remember my Italian teacher telling us, after she shouted it in class, that "managgia" meant "shucks" or "oh, dear." Like heck it does!

Anonymous said...

Pezzenovante or pezzo di novanta means big shot in sicilian slang, case closed!

Anonymous said...

My wife has used a Italian slang that I know is curse words, but she'd kept it from me. Can anyone explain what "guppety gots" is? I may be spelling it wrong. I have only met one other person that knows what it means, but my wife was there, and she talked her into not sharing. Please share what it means. thanks,

lizbone11 said...

I was called "muscchina" as a child and would love to know the proper spelling, origin/dialect and true definition if one exists. I always believed it to mean "awwe, poor baby". Thanks!

▪§ħinìńĢ§tąrr▪ said...

I loved everything that I have read in this blog of yours. Brought me back to my childhood days growing up in Brooklyn, being with the neighbors and family memebers. As long as you lived in the neighborhood everyone spoke the language, even non-italians. Thank you for bring me back to that time.

Anonymous said...

I agree that Goomah is Godmother. However, it was used by cheating husbands who told their wifes "Hey I gotta go see my Goomah-she's not feelin too good. Don't wait up".

Anonymous said...

Can someone define this word but I'm sure the spelling is wrong so phonetically here it is .....pishcadoo. In the Sopranos it was used by Jackie Aprille's wife, for the life of me I can't remember her name this early in the morn. :(

Kitty DeCapitate said...

Come si dice means 'How do you say...'? Usually in regards to asking how you would say something in another language. 'Scusi, come si dice 'breakfast' in Italiano?'

Anonymous said...

sicilianapachegirl,

was reading your post about
"taste tan culo in pie e za"..

Reads to me like "testa in culo in paesa" which doesnt make sense translated to "head in ass in country" Maybe a clue though?

Chris

Anonymous said...

Your sight was great. It brought me back to my younger days growing up in Youngstown, Ohio

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info. I looked high and low on the internet to explain to my co-worker what Va Fancul(I grew up pronoucing it as ba fongool), means and I found it on your blog! Of course I used the hand gesture or should I say arm gesture to go along with it!
Keep writing, it's good stuff!

Anonymous said...

As a kid, Mom would sometimes tell one of us kids something that sounded like: Va Gog! Does anyone know that expression?

Florence said...

Thanks for this site. I grew up in Philadelphia hearing my mother curse in italian but she was a full blooded German! My father's family came off the boat from Naples post WWII so my mom had lots of tutoring from the in-laws! I'm in my 50's now and every once in a while one of these curses will pass my lips. I forgot what a few of them meant so I googled. Most of the sites had Roman dialect and those curses were nothing like the ones I grew up hearing. So this site confirmed what I remember from childhood. Thanks! Anybody know what fu nob or fa noble means?

Daptin said...

FANUK is a bastardization of FINOCCHIO (fennel, in Italian) designating a gay guy.

Chris, in Panama

Anonymous said...

All of that lingo is derived from southern Italians and Sicilians.

All 4 of my grandparents grew up in the north. And I grew up in Bergen County, NJ.

No one in my family uses that lingo. I've heard it in the movies and on those awful, offensive gangster shows like The Sopranos- and it saddens me that America now thinks that all Italians speak and act like that.

dvarone said...

My dad used to call us kids a word that sounded like COOGOOTS, spelled phonecially because I have no idea how it is spelled in Italian. Tony Soprano called his son that in one episode. Any Ideas?

Anonymous said...

can anyone tell me the meaning of fagesse from Donnie Brasco..phony jewelry?

Anonymous said...

Your Best Choice!wow gold or wow power leveling and wow gold

Franz said...

Ahah nice topic, I'm an italian living in Firenze (Florence) but I'm into studying and speaking english, so if you're italian-american just email me: yomanite@gmail.com, I would be glad to meet you and to help you with other IA slang! Francesco

PoorMom said...

AS a Southern Italian American ( you northern Italian language purists can Mete'nell culo ! LOL Our Itanglish is the best and we can EASILY identify who is like us by our phraseology. Great blog post , Augurrrrriii!

Frank said...

Bada,

A lot of the pronunciation is from Sicilian or Neopolitan (actually separate languages, not dialects).

More or less "C" is prounounced "G", "P" is prounounced "B", and the final vowel is almost not pronounced at all. That isn't exactly right, but what it sounds like to a "'medican". Of course, the words are frequently different as well.

So, in my family (Sicilian):

capa di cozza (head of dick or dickhead) was pronounced gaba d'goats.

Even my aunt would refer to me as "gaba dose" (capa di ossa, or bonehead)

My niece still swears that a cannolu (Sicilian for cannolo - a single cannoli) should be prounounced "gunnol" and that pizza is properly said "beets" .

Anonymous said...

I have always heard some old italians say, and I know I am spelling this wrong ba fa nobala any ideas what it means

Anonymous said...

go to Napoli ..instead of the go F yourself they wanted to say...but not in front of the kids :)

Shannon said...

Hello! Thanks for your info. I used your info for my blog...
www.SundaysWithGeorge.blogspot.com.
Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Growing up in CT my dad was good for calling me chooch if I messed something up. Which I belive is a jackass or donkey.

Constance said...

I love this post. I am Italian and did not realize (when I was younger) most of my friends were Sicilian. I learned Italian from my Mother and Sicilian from my friends. I recently started to learn Italian to become fluent. I did not realize I was speaking with mixed dialects.

Thank you so much for your post!!! FYI to the people with corrections; keep in mind there are over 360 different Italian dialects. This produces variations of almost all the words.

Tutto said...

anonymous said:

95% of Italians in Italy speak the proper Italian, which they take pride in, considering it is such a beautiful language and to tell you the truth when they hear someone speak in a southern Italian dialect, they look down on you. I don't find this site offense, I find it comical. It is another misconception of what Italians really are like, just like the Sopranos and the Godfather.

uh, glad you are amused. you where probably so busy looking down, you forgot to notice that these words and phrases weren't claimed to be proper italian; they are italian-american slang (or, in your words, italian-medican).

my grandparents were first generation immigrants from monopoli, and spoke "italian" in the home. neither of them ever went to school - not even kindergarten. they used many of these words -- some of them not even rooted in italian. my grandmother called the bathroom "u ba couse" when speaking her italian. it's not italian, but a mangled version of "back house." her kids pick up on the mangled word as italian, and it passes on down.

every sister, cousin, and friend that immigrated with them and lived in town understood and used such slang when speaking in "italian."

i'm glad you have the luxury of looking down and laughing. i find it fascinating. it's a great example of how dynamic all languages are; how quickly they can evolve into something all together different when left unchecked.

Anonymous said...

dvrone your word means squash :) like calling someone a dum dum

Non-Compassionate Liberal said...

I'm a 58 year old mezzo-mezz'. I sometimes use the screen name "Kay Kotso-deech" (Che cazzo dice) under the comments' section below the on-line columns of the Philadelphia Daily News. Basically, it's equivalent to "What the fuck you saying?"

gabagool said...

PEZZONOVATA...

It MAY mean something different in various parts, but, in my section it means:

$1.90.
Nu Pezzo means one dollar, le pezze means money.

Anonymous said...

Oh this makes me so homesick! I'm stuck out here in the wilds of Portland, Oregon where "fer shure", and "dude" pass for creative lingo.

Anonymous said...

Oh this makes me so homesick!
I'm stuck out here in the wilds of Portland, Oregon where "fer shure" and "dude" is as colorful as it gets.

Anonymous said...

Only in Medica do they speek dis crap.
Dere are Italians everywhere not just da bornx/brooklyn/queens.

No where else do they talk this sheet.
Anyone growin up on this badabing would be laughed at in italy as soon as they opened dere traps. Americans = moolies

Just grow da hell up!!

Anonymous said...

Connie to her husband: hei vavangool.
No. You vavangool.

Calogero said...

I live in Rome and there is no such thing as "proper" Italian except in books or lessons.Every region has its own dialect.Someone who speaks Sicilian will not understand someone who speaks Venesian.Italy is basically a country made of seperate countries.

MDM said...

Some Neapolitan dialect slang I grew up listening too from NJ. I'll use the pronunciation not the actual correct spelling.

ah beetz - pizza
pasta pizelle - pasta w/ peas ( red sauce or garlic & oil )
olly oily - garlic & oil sauce
ah beetza gain - Ham & cheese pie ( easter pie )
sch keev - can't stomache something, or something that makes me sick.
fafa deal, pee sha deal or fiff - penis
fon ghoul - F #@k you or up your A**
sva cheem - son of a bit*h or sh*t face
canool - conoli Italian pastry
chooch - jackass
gavone - over weight person, one who eats like a pig
Jamook or mook - idiot, dummy, loser, knuckle head
Menza Menza - retard, beyond stupid
mama luke - clown, screwball, moron

I can go on & on, but I'm getting tired now ... LOL

Anonymous said...

I have been blessed in growing up in both Italy and America and am fortunate to have both my Italian and American citizenship. I do notice that true Italians refer to themselves not as Italian but from the town or regione they are from, such as I'm bolognese, or fiorentino. And to Italians someone like myself that is both Italian and American is called an oriundo. It's funny because I use my own slang at times such as buione, which means big darkness, do I have to spell it out for you. For second or third generation Italians that can't speak Italian but put on like they are everything Italian, my wife and I refer to them as impostore, meaning poser. I guess after this jersey shore era one might use of guido. For mexicans I say stranieri, which means foreigners. I have a lot more but ill save those for another day. Just thought I would shed some light on what a new generation italo americano uses for slang.

Guy Working said...

We used to use the word "stunard" to mean someone who was was stupid. "F'n stunard" was a common phrase in my neighborhood in Brooklyn.

Anonymous said...

are you kiddin' me? The addcents, the pronunciations..paison.. you are perfect for a Brooklyn born Italian. Is there any other kind?

Imastartu said...

Two kinds of people--Italians-and those who wish they were (and btw, we Italian-Americans ARE Italian!!!)

Anonymous said...

gabagool is cappicola (sp) I grew up with older relatives who used all these words. You left out mamaluke. My great grandmother used to say "medicahn", followed by "ptoo!" as if she were spitting.
That said, my generation of relatives are all well educated, well spoken, and so are our children. We are all proud of our heritage and the beautiful Italian language. Still, this post brings back fond, funny memories.

Anonymous said...

I was wondering what you think of the reality TV shows that show our Italians as hedonistic jerks that fornicate with anything that moves.
There is nothing honarable or charitable in anything they do because it is all about themselves. These shows personally make me sick and have non-Italians thinking we're all a bunch of vain losers.I know it's TV but someone needs to throat throttle their @sses and say "whatsa matta you...eh?"

Anonymous said...

my grandmother was neopolitan and used to say a rhyme to us as babies, spelled phonetically...
"moosha mooshaella, froosta froosala..." i can't remember the rest - anyone recognize this? and know the whole thing?

Anybody know what fu nob or fa noble means?

Florence -- Va Napoli -- Go to Naples!

Anonymous said...

Oh, and I meant to say I know that song - my Grandmother sings it to my daughter... I can find out what it means.

Dawn said...

I loved reading all of this! I grew up on Long Island , Italian on both sides! hilarious. Yeah what the heck was moosh, mosha ma jzale?While my grandmother was puttin me to sleep. I dont know how to pronounce it. Other words.. rigot and gabbagool, and doozey batz, and googootza, ma whats for dinner? un gotzati googatzel.Wo brings back memories! no one talks like that here in Cali!!!

Anonymous said...

As my mother once said about a Louis Prima number sung live in Las Vegas, "That's the clean version."

La Nina, Mima said...
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La Nina, Mima said...

I was told that Italians used a word for Sicilians called something like, Scigge, or maybe, Scugge? Is that true?

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Anonymous said...

I know this post is old, but I felt compelled to respond. Im first generation Sicilian American (my mother was born in Terasini Sicilia) and these words are definitely Sicilian (rather than proper Italian), but are still highly butchered. One of the things that really gets to my mother, my Nonna, my Zio's and Zia's (or tsi-tsi's as we called them, which is pronounced zi-zees) is the Jersey and NY Sicilians (Im a Boston Sicilian) shortening of the words, e.g. Manigot (manicotti), Proshut (prosciutto), etc... For me, I could care less. I get it. Well most of it....Most... But things like gabagool for cappicolla is a little too butchered for me, it basically loses all association with the originating word and starts sounding ridiculous.

In any case Sicilian and Italian are basically two different languages (though Sicilianu is really just an Italian dialect). Most of my family speak both, and they are very different. Sicilian tends to put u's at the end of words rather than a's or o's for example - stunadu instead of stonato - i was always told it meant slow, or thick in the head, mangiastu - (eat, mangiasti in italian), stupidu, la bicciadidu, la bicciadedu (not sure if I spelled them correct, but its pronounced la bitch-id-ee-doo which means a little baby and la-bitch-oo-theh-doo which is a little kid), aggiadu rather than aggiada, etc... And the Sicilian my family speaks even has some greek influences, for instance, we call eggplant melanzana (instead of moulinyan) which is a greek word. Being from a fishing town in Sicily may have influenced this due to trade with Greece. And Sicilians tend to pronounce p's as b's and c's as g's, for instance, basta instead of pasta, gugina-o instead of cugina-o, brusciutto instead of prosciutto, gumba instead of compa or compare.

Also Sicilian in my experience is more harsh, expressive/exaggerated or even more angry sounding than traditional Italian. Italian is almost musical or poetic whereas Sicilian is rough and aggressive. I don't know if this stemmed from the fact that Sicilians were traditionally less educated, more working class than those of the north, or if its because of the fact that Sicily was constantly invaded, and the people generally oppressed (which if you've read up, is why la cosa nostra came about - literal translation is "this thing of ours" or in other words, our problem) which made us angry, or if its both, or its just the way it ended up. But even as a 1st generation Sicilianu, I can tell you, that I identify myself as Sicilian, and NOT Italian. When people ask what nationality I am, I say Sicilian. We are different. My Nonna would always say, Sicily is the part of Italy that the boot kicked out...we were the outcasts, the unwanted. The "lower class" of Italy. Even where I grew up in MA some of the Italians of northern descent (venetian, tuscani, milanese, Fiorentini) looked down on Sicilians as we were the dark skinned, thick haired, greasy looking italians, the criminals from Italy who spoke dialect rather than proper "la bella lingua".

Anyway, the American-Sicilian dialect, I like to call Sicienglish (Sich-english).

Anonymous said...

I know this is an old site but I just wanted to see if anyone was still on it.
My greatgrandfather immigrated to New York from Sicilia in the 1890's with my greatgrandmother and young grandfather Victorio Vernatchi. Victorio (Vic) grew up in New York as a fisherman and a cobbler during the off season. He moved to New Orleans around 1910 and then on to Eureka, Calif. in 1915. He eventually made his way to Sacramento, Calif. in 1917 where he met my grandmother Violetta( I know, a lot of "V's", and they were married. In Jan. 1918 my mother was born and a year later they all moved to San Francisco, Calif. where my grandfather still fished during the season out of Fishermans Wharf and ran a shoe shop in the Upper Mission District. Which brings me to the point of this.
It's funny how people can pickup an accent from an area they never lived in. My mother never lived in Brooklyn but always had Brooklyn accent that she picked up from her father. I can remember my grandfather using many of these slang words when I was young. Unfortunately or maybe fortunately I never knew what most of them meant until now. Thank you for the enlightenment.
Tony Vernatchi Naramore

Honey said...

Does anyone know the origin of the word (phonetically) wooLEE? I always thought it had come from voglio, which means "want.". My family uses it as want or desire, like I have a "woolee" for pizza.

Anonymous said...

one big one that came from my family (northern italians) is "fa caca de brie" which i believe roughly translates to "ti fai la caca nella bragei(bra-ghay)" or "to shit your pants"

another im not sure about the proper italian word but the dialect is something like "fraciun" pronounced frah-choon. meaning idiot i think. can anyone shed light on that?

Anonymous said...

What does it mean to be called bada goosh??

Anonymous said...

Idiot in Italian is just plain Idiota.

chris said...

Does anyone know what bada goosh means?

Anonymous said...

must be another american slang term, and not spelled right. The word bada by itself means bay.

chris said...

Yeah, I knew that. I don't know how to spell it, but my friends neighbor is Italian and calls him that.

Anonymous said...

He may have been saying chooch. This is a kind of Neopolitan dialect NJ slang term for Jackass. Whatever he is saying, it is probably not praise. :)

chris said...

No, he calls him other things as well. No praising whatsoever. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

95% of Italians speak "real" Italian huh? The Napoletan, and rest of the southerners, aren't real Italians then? Fuckin alti Italiani bullshit...

Anonymous said...

Italian slang for a black person phoneticly " toot soon". What is correct spelling and meaning.?

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this site. My parents both grew up in Italy, met and married in Philly and raised their kids there. Almost all of the words and phrases you've all cited are familiar to me and brought me back to my old neighborhood, my youth and my family. I've been in Arizona for decades now and never ever hear these words here so this nostalgia you've given me has been delightful. Mille gracie.

Frank Musacchio said...

For the woman who wanted to know about "Mooshe mooshele..."
Forgive the poor spelling. The original is in Napulitana:

Mooshee Mooshele
Sa mangiati casheele?
Sa na dada me?
No?
Froosa-froos a la casa tuo.

Here is the translation according to my grandfather:

Kitty-Kittycat
Did you eat the casheele?
Did you save some for me?
No?
Then go back to your own house!

On this note, I would dearly love to know the italian words to lullaby; my grandparents used to sing it to me, and I know it started "neena-non". ?

mikel 25 said...

Couple comments. My family is from the Caserta or Napoli region of Italy. Many of the expressions on hear I have not heard in years.
Specifically Mappeen/mopeen/ for dish towel; Tootsoon or Tutsone/ for African American; Medigan for lets just say Non Italian. As a kid my grandmother would serve "celery" or Fanuch and dip it in "the anacette". Anyone have a history on this.

Mtnlaurel said...

How do you spell (mahpeen) also phonetically spelled as others have done. A know that a "mahpeen" is used to wipe your mouth, but what does it actually mean? napkin? dishtowel? cloth? My family is all gone, except for my sister and I and we are trying to keep all of these little sayings alive. I would also like to see an entire list of these if one is available

Anonymous said...

"Chidibeep" is something with regards to a pipe. A speela peep or (beep) in slang is a pipe cleaner/plumber or something deragatory in reference to male genitilia

Rick Palmeri said...

We were always told that "fanabala" was actually "va Napoli" as in "go to Naples" as in "go to hell" which I guess for a Sicilian would be hell (??).

Anonymous said...

This is from mid state NY. It comes from third gen Italian, Lebanese, Irish, etc. Obviously the meanings are in the whatever class. Here we go, remember. This is localized.
Potts - nuts, crazy, stupid, etc. Lubotts - about the same meaning. Mingya - zero meaning, used for any purpose. Manja - let's eat. Gobadagots - eat me or bite me. These are so far from meaning anything at all I wouldn't pay any attention.

Anonymous said...

is there an actual italian word that the
slang word chooch is derived from? my uncle born in Italy used the expression so often , I thought it was english!



Anonymous said...

For the person asking, I remember that one would stroke an infant or young child's face when putting them to bed - phonetically it sounded (to me) like Moosh-moo-shay said over and over and there was a word at the end I cannot remember...grew up in a NYC area, all grandparents from Italy. Don't recall my grandmothers ever speaking English. My maternal Nonno moved back to Italy after Nonna died. I did get to go visit there when I was a young adult. Monopoli on Adriatic.

Maria Stahl said...

My sister in law's mother and aunt use a word for a party favor for a wedding that sounds like "boopanile". Sister in law shrugged it off saying "it's not really Italian." Does this ring bells for anyone?

Nicole said...

I laughed and cried reading this. My grandparents are Sicilian, Neapolitan, Calabrase and Bah-daze (phonetically). The slang I grew up with also are variations of what was stated; again (phonetically)
ban-ya-dole - bathroom
pisch-ya-dole - piss
chooch - an idiot, ass.. whatever
stugots
ah bah fangul (while flicking your chin with 1 finger)
mool-en-yahn (eggplant or derogatory for a colored man)
goomah was both Godmother and a girl on the side
boo-tana- whore
mapeen- dish towel
mamaluke
toot-soon
Gapesce
mah-nah-g -dam it
coo-goots - referring to silly kid or if you bump your coo-goots (head in this case)
my favorite. a knuckle head was a baccala.

Cute story. I asked my 14 year old boy to get the mooz-a-dell out of the fridge. He said "there is no mooz-a-dell, but there is mozzarella. Can you use that"?

Anonymous said...

I heard "Madonn" at least 10 times a day while growing up. Or Maddon O mi! I still use it whenever I vent a frustration. Stugats was another big one in my house!