Glossary of Mafia-related words

This is a glossary of words related to the Mafia, primarily the Italian American Mafia.

  1. administration: the top-level "management" of an organized crime Family -- the boss, underboss and consigliere.[1]
  2. associate: one who works with mobsters, but hasn't been asked to take the vow of Omertà; an almost confirmed, or made guy.[2]
  3. connected guy: an associate
  4. barone: a baron or landlord.[3]
  5. books, the: a phrase indicating membership in the Family. If there is a possibility for promotion, then the books are open. If not, the books are closed.
  6. boss: the head of the Family who runs the show.[3] He decides who gets made and who gets whacked. The boss also gets points from all Family business; also see: don, chairman.
  7. capo: the Family member who leads a crew; short for caporegime or capodecina.
  8. captain: a capo.
  9. clip: to murder; also whack, hit, pop, burn, ICE, put a contract out.
  10. code of silence: not ratting on one's colleagues once one has been pinched -- no longer a strong virtue in organized crime families. Also see omertà.
  11. confirm: to be made; see made guy.
  12. consigliere: the Family advisor, who is always consulted before decisions are made.
  13. Cosa Nostra (This thing of ours): Mob term for the family or mafia
  14. crank: speed; in particular, crystal meth.
  15. crew: the group of soldiers under the capo's command.
  16. cugine: a young soldier striving to be made.
  17. don: the head of the Family; see boss.
  18. eat alone: to keep for oneself; to be greedy.
  19. family: an organized crime clan, like the Genoveses, the Gottis, or the Sopranos.
  20. forget about it: An exclamation; as the title character explains in Donnie Brasco:
    "Forget about it" is, like, if you agree with someone, you know, like "Raquel Welch is one great piece of ass. Forget about it!" But then, if you disagree, like "A Lincoln is better than a Cadillac? Forget about it!" You know? But then, it's also like if something's the greatest thing in the world, like, "Minghia! Those peppers! Forget about it!" But it's also like saying "Go to hell!" too. Like, you know, like "Hey Paulie, you got a one-inch pecker?" and Paulie says "Forget about it!" Sometimes it just means "Forget about it."[4]
  21. G: a grand; a thousand dollars; also see large.
  22. garbage business: euphemism for organized crime.
  23. Golden Age: The days before RICO.
  24. goomah (sometimes pronounced "goomar"): a Mafia mistress; also comare.
  25. heavy: packed, carrying a weapon.
  26. hit: to murder; also see whack.
  27. juice: the interest paid to a loanshark for the loan; also see vig.
  28. kick up: give a part of the income to the next up in the command chain.
  29. lam: To lay down, go into hiding
  30. large: a thousand, a grand, a G.
  31. made man: an inducted member of the Family.
  32. mock execution: to whip someone into shape by frightening them.
  33. mattresses, going to, taking it to, or hitting the: going to war with a rival clan or family.
  34. message job: placing the bullet in someone's body such that a specific message is sent to that person's crew or family; see through the eye, and through the mouth.
  35. mob, the: a single organized crime family; OR all organized crime families together.
  36. mobbed up: connected to the mob.
  37. mobster: one who is in the mob.
  38. Omertà: to take a vow of silence in the Mafia, punishable by death if not upheld.
  39. outfit: a clan, or family within the Mafia.
  40. points: percent of income; cut.
  41. spring cleaning: cleaning up, hiding or getting rid of evidence.
  42. paying tribute: giving the boss a cut of the deal.
  43. pinched: to get caught by the cops or federal agents.
  44. program, the: The Witness Protection Program.
  45. rat: one who snitches or squeals after having been pinched.
  46. RICO: Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. Passed in 1970 to aid the American government in clamping down on organized crime activities, its scope has since been broadened to prosecute insider traders and anti-abortion protesters.
  47. shakedown: to blackmail or try to get money from someone; also to give someone a scare.
  48. shy: the interest charged on loans by loansharks.
  49. shylockbusiness: the business of loansharking.
  50. soldier: the bottom-level member of an organized crime Family, as in "foot soldiers."
  51. tax: to take a percentage of someone's earnings.
  52. This Thing of Ours (Cosa Nostra): a mob family, or the entire mob.
  53. through the eye: a message job through the eye to say "We're watching you!"
  54. through the mouth: a message job through the mouth to indicate that someone WAS a rat.
  55. underboss: the second in command to the boss.
  56. vig: the interest paid to a loanshark for the loan. Abbreviation of vigorish; also see juice.
  57. waste management business: euphemism for organized crime.
  58. whack: to murder; also clip, hit, pop, burn, put a contract out.
  59. wiseguy: a made guy.


  1. Rick Cowan, Douglas Century (2002), "Glossary", Takedown: the fall of the last Mafia empire, administration: the upper-level power structure of an organized-crime family, composed of the boss, underboss, ...
  2. Rick Cowan, Douglas Century (2002), "Glossary", Takedown: the fall of the last Mafia empire, associate: someone who works with wiseguys, but who hasn't been sworn in as a member of the family.
  3. 1 2 Joseph Farrell, "Glossary of mafia terms", Understanding the mafia
  4. "IMDB Donnie Brasco : Quotes". Retrieved 14 February 2015.
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