Guest Author - Vance Rowe
Have you ever heard a word, term or phrase in a mafia movie or read them in a book and wondered what they mean? Here some words and their definitions of mafia terminology for you
Associate - an associate is one who works with a Mafia organization but is not an official member.
Book - A form of gambling usually on sporting events. The racket is run by a person known as a "bookmaker.”
Books – Something that names people who are members of Mafia families.
Borgata – A family. The Borgata has an established chain of command, a body of members or soldiers, and many associates.
Boss - Sometimes referred to as Godfather, the boss is the leader of the Mafia Family.
Bought – Accepting a bribe. A police officer or politician who takes money in exchange for allowing crime to continue is "bought."
Broken – A term used to refer to someone who was demoted in rank in the Mafia.
Button - A soldier in a Mafia family. A person who can be called upon by a family boss to perform an execution or some other shady deed.
Capo di Tutti Capi - The leader of all leaders or boss of bosses. The most powerful Mafia boss to whom all others defer. Some know this as the Capo di capi or the Capo dei capi.
Capo - Refers to a minor leader within a Mafia family, a chief of a crew. A Captain.
Capodecina – It means the same thing as capo, this term means that the capo as a leader of at least ten soldiers.
Caporegime – This word also means the same thing as capo, but, is often used to refer to more noteworthy group leaders.
Comare – A word used to describe a Mafia mistress.
Commission - Commission members are the leaders of the Mafia families. This was started by Charles “Lucky” Luciano.
Consigliore – It means "counselor" the consigliore is an adviser to the boss.
Cosa Nostra – It means “this thing of ours”. J. Edgar Hoover coined the phrase “La Cosa Nostra”, which he thought meant “the Mafia”.
Don - A term of respect. Often refers to a Mafia boss.
Family - See "Borgata."
Fence - One who trades stolen goods, usually for money. To sell ill gotten gains to someone.
Fix - A circumstance in which law enforcement or sport stars has been paid to allow something illegal to happen. It’s where the phrase, "The fix was in”, originated from.
Friend of Mine – An introduction in which a new acquaintance is introduced as a friend but is not connected to any families.
Friend of ours - An introduction in which one introduces a new acquaintance and is also a member of a Mafia family. It is the opposite of the term "friend of mine”.
Godfather - In Mafia terminology, this term refers to the boss of a family.
Mustache Petes – The old country Mafiosi were referred to as this. The two more notable "Mustache Petes" were Salvatore Maranzano and Giuseppe “Joseph” Masseria.
Numbers - A lottery game that has been a money-maker for the Mafia. Was originally a money-maker for the African- American families in their neighborhoods of Chicago.
Oobatz – A term meaning “crazy.”
Omerta – The “Code of Silence” that Mafia members subscribe to. Joe Valachi was the first known member to do this so he could get protection while in jail.
Outfit – The name of the Chicago family run by Al Capone and later, by Frank Nitti.
Points - Interest paid on a loan given by a loan shark, or a “shylock”. Also known as "vig" or “juice”.
Shylock – The name for a loan shark.
Sit-down - A meeting. Usually with members of the Commission or the leaders of a family.
Underboss – The second in command of a “borgata”.
Vig - A percentage of gambling winnings that were placed by a bookie. It is also referred to as the interest of a loan by a shylock.
Wiseguy - A "made" member of a Mafia family or borgata.
These are a few of the more common Mafia terms that you may or may not have known the definitions or meanings of. Hope they are useful to you.