Italian-American Dialect Dictionary

“Gabbagul” Italian

aduzipach!/aduzipazz! – you’re crazy! (ma tu sei pazzo!) [aa-DOO-zee-PAACH]/[aa-DOO-zee-PAATS]

afanabola!/vafanabola!/a fa napule! – go to hell! – Note: Literally means “go to Naples” (a fa Napoli!) [aa-faa-NAA-boe-laa]

agita – heartburn/indigestion (aciditá) [AA-jih-tuh]

ammonini! – let’s go! (andiamo!) [aa-moe-NEE-nee]

andosh! – let’s go! (andiamo) [aan-DOESH]

aunda/awunda? – where? (awundi?) [aa-WOON-duh]

aunda ciunca/awunda chunka? – where does it hurt? (awundi ciunca?) [aa-WOON-duh CHOON-kuh?]

assai – a lot (molto) [aah-SYE]

bacous’/bacouz – bathroom (backhouse) [buh-KOWZ]

bash/basc’ – down/downstairs (bascia) [baash]

bada bing! – bam!; Note: Popularized in the 1970s by The Godfather character Santino Corleone

biangolin’ – bleach (bianco lino) [byaan-GO-leen]

bicuridu – my little boy/my little baby (piccolo bambino) [BEECH-oo-REE-doo]

boombots – nickname for an idiot; Note: As in “Vinnie Boombots” [boom-BAATS]

boxugeddu – box (box per oggetti) [baax-oo-JED-oo]

braggiol’ – meat and sauce/male anatomy (bracciole) [BRAAJH-oel]

brosciutt’/prosciutt’ – italian ham (prosciutto) [BRAAJH-oot]/[PRAAJH-oot]

buttagots/buttagats – annoying idiot (buttana u’ cazzo) [boo-taa-GAATS]

buttann’/puttann’ – b_tch/whore (putanna); Note: more mild than “sciaquadell” [boo-TAAN]

calabres’ – Calabrian (calabrese); Note: can refer to people, objects, customs, etc. [caal-uh-BRAYZ]

calamad’ – fried squid (calamari) [caal-uh-MAAD]

capidan/capitan – captain (capitano/capitan) [caap-ee-DAAN]

cazzo - balls (cazzo) [KAA-tso]

cendann’/centann’ – a hundred years (cento anni); Note: said before a toast [chen-DAAN]

che cozz’? – what the f— are you doing? (che cazzo fai?) [KAY-kaatz]

chefai? – what are you doing? (che cosa fai?) [ke-FYE]

chepreca! – what a shame! (che peccato!) [kay-preh-KAA]

chiove – raining (fa piove) [KYOH-vay]

chiove tropp’assai – it’s raining very hard (fa piove molto) [KYOH-vay-TROAP-aa-SAI]

chooch – jackass (ciuccio) [CHOOCH]

chunka – injured (ciunca) [CHOON-kuh]

cing-u-bezz/cingubezz – five dollars apiece (cinque un pezzo) [cheeng-oo-BETZ]

ciuri – flowers (fiori) [CHOO-ree]

colghioni/cogliones/gulgliones – male anatomy (colghioni) [coal-YOANZ]/[gool-YOANZ]

cornuto – unfaithful husband [coar-NOO-toe]

cuore stuppau – heart stopped [KWOAW-ray-staa-POW]

disgraziat’ – dirtball (disgraziato) [dees-graats-ee-AAT]

dzapp’ – gardening hoe (zappa) [DZAAP]

edi-conosc’? – do you know me?/do you know who I am? (e mi conosci?) [EE-dee-GAA-noesh]

facciabrutt’ – ugly face (faccia brutta) [FA-chuh-broot]

faccia di katzo – ball face (faccia di cazzo) [FAA-chaa-dee-KAA-tsoe]

facciu fridda – it’s cold (fa freddo) [FAA-choo-FREE-daa]

fugeddaboudit – forget about it; Note: English in origin

fanabola! – shit! (a fa Napoli) [faa-NAA-boe-laa]

fatti gatti due!/vatoli vatoli due! – mind your own f—ing business! (fa ti cazzi tuoi) [FAA-tee-GAA-tee-doo-yay]

fattu napiridu – I farted [FAA-too-naa-pee-REE-doo] (ho fatto napiridu)

femma buma/femma bunda – good for nothing girl (femmina vagabonda)

‘ffangul’! – go f— yourself! (vai a fare in culo) – [faan-GOOL]

finoicc’/fenucc’ – fennel (finocchio) [fin-OIK]

fraggiol’ – beans (fraggiole) [FRAA-joal]

fratu – brother (fratello) [FRAA-too]

fugazi/fagazi – fake; Note: likely English in origin

fuidi dogu! – get down from there! [FWEE-dee-DOW-goo]

gab’ – head (capo) [GAAB]

gabbadost’ – - hardhead (capa dura/capa tosta)

gabbagul/gabagul – type of meat/food/idiot/fool (capicola/capocollo/capacolla) – [gaa-baa-GOOL]

gabbaruss’/gab’ russ’ – redhead (capo rosso) [gaa-baa-ROOS]

gabbadeegats/capa di cazz’ – ball face (capo di cazzo) [gaa-baa-dee-GATS]

gabisc’/gabish’?/capish’? – (do you) understand? (capisci?) [gaa-PEESH]

gaguzz’ – muscles/idiot/money/squash (cucuzza) [gaa-GOOTS]

gaguzzalonga – big muscles (cucuzza lunga) [ga-GOOTS-aa-LOWN-gaa]

gambarell’/gambanell’ – (door)bell (campanello) [GAMBA-rell]

gandin’ – basement (cantina) [gaan-DEEN]

ganol’ – cannoli [gaa-NOAWL]

gavadeel’ – italian pasta (cavatelli) [gaa-vaa-DEEL]

gavone – gluttonous eater (cafone) [gaa-VOAN]

giambott’ – Italian stew (giambotta) [jaam-BAUWT]

giamoke/giamocc’/jamoke – idiot (giamope) [jaam-OAK]

gibude – onion (cipolla) [jaa-BOOD]

gomesegiam’?/comesegiam’? – how do you say?/whatchamacallit? (come si chiama?) [go-maa-say-GYAM]

goombah – countryman/fellow comrade/godfather (compare) [goom-BAA]

gopp’ – up/top (coppa/capo) [gaap]

guacarunno – someone (qualcuno) [gwaa-kaa-ROO-no]

gul’/cul’ – ass (culo) [GOOL]

gumad – mistress/girlfriend (cumare/comare) [goo-MAAD]

guppin’ – ladle (coppino) [goo-PEEN]

guyasabbu? – who knows? (chissa?) [goo-yaa-ZAA-boo]

giacchieron’ – blabbermouth (chiacchierone) [gyaa-kyaa-ROAN]

gidrul’ – stupid person (cetriolo) [jih-DROOL]

gistu/chistu – this (questo) [GEE-stoo]

haicapid – do you understand? (hai capito) [eye-kaa-PEED]

how’ya doin? – how are you doing? (inglese: how are you doing?)

‘iamo – let’s go! (andiamo) [YAA-moe]

idu – he (lui) [EE-doo]

i-malano-miau! – I can’t believe it! (che malanova mi hai) [EE-maa-laa-no-mee-auw]

issu – she (lei) [EE-soo]

lascialui! – leave him alone! (lascilo!) [laa-shaa-LOO-ee]

lasordida!/asodida! – your sister!/your sister’s a _____! (la sorella!/tua sorella (è una putana)!) [laa-SA-dih-daa]

la vesa gazi – swear word [laa-VAY-zaa-gaa-ZEE]

ma che cozz’u fai?! – what the heck are you doing?! (ma che cozzo fai?!) [maa-KAY-kauwtz-oo-fai]

ma che bell’! – why, how beautiful! (ma che bella) [maa-KAY-bell]

ma che quest’? – what is this? (ma che cosa è questo?) [maa-KAY-quest]

maddiul’/mariul’ – fool/rascal (mariolo) [maa-dee-OOL]

maliocch’ – the evil eye (malocchio) [maal-YOAK]

mamaluke – idiot/fool (mamalucco) [maa-maa-LOUK]

mannaggia – damn/cursing (male ne aggia/male ne abbia) [MAA-NAA-juh]

managgia dial – curse the devil (male ne aggia il diavolo) [MAA-NAA-juh-dee-owl]

mannaggia la mort’ – cursing death (male ne aggia la morta) [MAA-NAA-juh-dee-owl]

mannaggia la miseria – cursing misery (male ne aggia la miseria) [MAA-NAA-juh-MEE-seh-ree-uh]

manigott’ – italian pasta (manicotti) [maa-NEE-gauwt]

mappin’ – napkin/towel (moppina) [maa-PEEN]

maron’! – damnit (madonna) [maa-ROAN]

maronna mia! – oh my God! (madonna mia!) [maa-ROAWN-aa-MEE-uh]

menzamenz – half and half (mezza mezza) [mehnz-AA-mehnz]

mezzamort’ – half-dead (mezzo morto) [METZA-moart]

minch’ – wow! (minchia) [meenk]

mortadell’ – Italian sausage/loser (mortadella) [moart-aa-DELL]

mortadafam’ – really hungy/starving (morta da fame) [moart-aa-daa-faam]

muccatori – tissue (fazzoletto) [moo-kaa-TOE-ree]

mudanz – pajamas [moo-DAANZ]

mulignan – eggplant (melanzana) [mool-in-YAAN]

murudda – without a brain [moo-ROO-daa]

musciad – mushy (musciata/ammosciato) [moo-SHYAAD]

moosh-miauw – very mushy (musciata miau) [moosh-meow]

muzzarell’/muzzadell’ – Italian cheese (mozzarella) [mootz-aa-DELL]

medigan’ – non-Italian american/Italian who has lost his roots (americano) [meh-dee-GAAN]

napoleedan/napuletan’ – Neapolitan (napolitano) [naa-paa-lee-DAAN]

numu fai shcumbari! – don’t embarass me!/stop embarrasing me! (non fai scumbari) [NOO-moo fai shkoom-baa-REE]

oobatz’/patz’ – crazy person (un pazzo/u’ pazzu) [oo-BAATZ]

paesan’ – fellow Italian countryman (paesano) [pai-ZAAN]

panzagin’! – I’m full! [paan-zaa-GEEN]

pasta vasul’ – Italian soup (pasta fagioli) [pasta-faa-ZOOL]

pastin’ – small, star-shaped pasta (pastina) [paa-STEEN]

pizzagain’ – Italian meat pie (pizzagaina) [pizza-GAIN]

pizzolino – afternoon nap (pisolino) [peetz-o-LEE-no]

provalon’ – type of cheese (provalone) [pro-və-LOAN]

pucchiach’/bucchiach’ – b–ch (pucchiacha) [poo-KYAAK]

rigott’ – Italian cheese (ricotta) [ree-GAUWT]

salud’/salut’ – be in good health (salute) [zaa-LOOD]

shape-la-tass’ – shape of a cup (shape of la tazza) [shape-aa-laa-taatz]

scharol’/scarol – escarole/money (scarola) [shkaa-ROAL]

schif’/shkeeve – to be disgusted by something (schifo) [shkeef]

schifozz’ – disgusting thing (schifosa) [shkee-VOATZ]

scorchamend’/scocciament’ – a pain in the ass (scocciamento) [scorch-aa-MEND]

scooch – pest/move over [SKOOCH]

scoochi-di-bandanz – a real pain [scooch-ee-dee-baan-DANZ]

scustumad’ – stupid person (scostumato) [skoo-stoo-MAAD]

sciumara – river (fiumara) [shoo-MAA-raa]

scoba – broom (scopa) [SKO-baa]

scobendo – to sweep the floor (scopare) [sko-BEN-doe]

scubata/scupata – get laid (scopato) [SKOO-baa-taa]

sculabast’ – pasta strainer (scola la pasta) [skoo-laa-BAAST]

scungill’/scongigl’ – cooked snail (sconciglio) [skoon-JEEL]

sedeti/sededi – sit down (sedeteti) [SEH-daa-dee]

sesenta fame? – do you feel hungry?/are you hungry? (sei senti fame?) [seh-SEHN-taa-FAA-may]

sfacimm’ - bad person (sfacimma) [SVAH-CHEEM] [svaa-CHEEM]

sfogliadell’ – italian pastry (sfogliatella) [SHVOHL-ya-dell]

sciaquadell’ – whore (sciacquata) [shock-wa-DELL]

scumbari – disheveled (scumbari) [shkoom-baa-REE]

sigilian’ – Sicilian (siciliano) [sih-jeel-YAAN]

sorda – money (soldi) [SOAL-dee]

sorda – sister (sorella) [SOAR-duh]

spasciad’/scasciad’ – not talking (to someone) (spacciato/spasciau) [spaa-SHAAD]

strunz’ – sh_t (stronzo) [STROONZ]

stanna mabaych – son of a b—- (mispronounced “son of a b—-”) [STAA-naa-maam-BAYCH]

statagitt’!/stagitt’!/staizitt’!/staizii! -be quiet! (stai zitto) [stah-tuh-JEET]

stendinz – intestines/guts (inglese: intestines) [stehn-DEENZ]

stugots/stugats – f___ it (questo cazzo/questu cazzu/’stu cazzu) [stoo-GAATS]

stunad – moron (stonato) [stoo-NAAD]

struppiau – extremely dimwitted (stupido) [stroo-pee-YAOW]

stuppiau – very dimwitted (stupido) [stoo-pee-YAOW]

stuppiad – dimwitted (stupido) [stoo-PEE-yaad]

stuppau – stopped [stoo-PAOW]

suprasa/suprasad – type of salami (soppressata) [soo-praa-SAAD]

suscia – blow (soffia) [SOOSH-yaa]

te fugo! – f— you! [tay-FOO-go]

ti voglio ben’assai – I love you so much (ti voglio bene) [tee-VOAL-yo-TROAP-aa-SAI]

un ada oda – another time (un altra volta/un altra ora) [oon-AA-daa-O-daa]

ue, goombah! – hey, man! (ue, compare!) [way-goom-BAH]

ufratu – your brother (il fratello/tuo fratello) [oo-FRAA-too]

umbriag’/umbriacc’/umbriago - intoxicated (ubriaco) [oom-bree-YAAG]

usorda – your sister (la sorella/tua sorella) [oo-SOAR-daa]

vaffangul’!/baffangul’!/ – f— you! (vai a fare in culo); Note: Literally means “Go stick it up your ass!” [vaa-faan-GOOL]

vagaboom/vagabuma – vagabond (vagabonda) [vaa-gaa-BOOM]

vangopp’ – go up/go upstairs (fa in coppa) [vaan-GOAP]

veni ca/vieni qua – come (over) here (vieni qui) [veh-nee-KAA]

vedi caciunca/vidi cachunka! – watch out, you’re gonna get hurt! (vedi la ciunca?) [vee-dee-kaa-CHOON-kaa]

walyun/wayo/guaglion’/guaglio’ – young man (guaglione) [waal-YOON]

uarda/warda - look! (guarda!) [WAAR-daa]

‘uarda la ciunca! – watch out, you’re gonna get hurt! (guarda la ciunca!) (WAAR-daa-laa-CHOON-kaa]

zutt’ – down/downstairs (sotto) [zoot]

zutt u’ basciament – down to the basement (sotto u’ basement) [zoot-oo-baa-shaa-MENT]

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Gabbagul-Italian,” or “Goombah Italian,” is an Italian-American dialect developed in the early 20th century by Italian immigrants settling in American cities. It is based on the Italian language, and it contains a mixture of Sicilian- and Neapolitan-inspired dialect words and phrases. The ‘dialect’ was prominent in East-Coast US cities, such as Newark, Paterson, New York City (especially Manhattan and Brooklyn), and Boston. It was mostly spoken in tightly-knit Italian communities and neighborhoods. “Gabbagul” isn’t the official name of this dialect; many names could signify it, including “American-Italian,” “New Jersey-Italian,” “New York-Italian,” “Calabrese-Siciliano-Italian,” etc. Many words are taken from other dialects, and different Italians in different areas spoke their dialects differently. The spelling is somewhat arbitrary because these words do not truly belong to English or Italian; they are hybrid creations.

I am attempting to recreate a ‘glossary’ of this Italian dialect (with pronunciation and Italian word origins for those interested) so it is not lost forever. Much of this comes from memory and familial recollection. Putting this together in one succinct place was very fun, and I hope it is helpful. This ‘dictionary’ will be updated, as it is an ongoing process.

In this dictionary you will find tons of Italian-American slang words and their Italiano/Calabrese/Siciliano origins.

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186 Responses

  1. nice job on maing this web site. i totally agree with you that they should bring some of the old shows back. the new shows that are on today do not compare to the old shows….not even close. also i like the italian words there really cool. al of them are correct and all italian families talk like that. im trying to memorize some of the italian slang words on your list. once again nice job. your a true italian!

  2. I remember these words from while growing up (Italian neighborhood in Jersey). Thank you for reminding me.

  3. This was great. I was sitting here with my 16 year old looking up some of the words that I could remember my italian grandmother saying through the years. I was so excited to see scola la pasta on here. We were discussing this word this morning while cooking pasta.

    • I use scola a pasta all the time.
      I am 2nd generation Italian born in America.
      Now my grandchildren use this work instead of colandar.

      • I am just reading this now and it is brining back lots of memoires of my grandparents. When they used to watch me when i was little, i didn’t alwyas understnad them. One time grandma Jennie wanted the scolapasta and i didnt know what she wanted..She said you know “macaroni stop, water go!”.

    • My mom, first gen American, said she was married before she knew the English word for colander. Fun to see scola pasta here.

  4. Hahaha, my grandma lived for a long time in the west new york/north bergen area in NJ, and says “oh maron” all the time. Best part … we’re not Italian at all!

    • you mean “madonna”.. mother of god, is what that
      saying is used to mean, pronounced
      (mah-down, with “down” like “own”).

  5. Please state clearly that this is the language spoken by Italian immigrants, not Italian. Most of these terms wouldn’t be understood in Italy, but I suppose only in Brooklin (or Broccolino as they said) :D

    Ciao da Roma

    • Just a couple hours ago my Irish nephew called me from upstate New York to ask “Uncle Joe, how do you spell ‘Gomba’?” We both turned on the computers and found HERE that the correct spelling is GOOMBA. Thank you for all the fractured Italian words. A great read!

    • And understood in Newark NJ

      • and in Chicago :)

    • No if you going to parts of southern Italy, 90% of the wording would be still be understood by the older generation.
      It would not be understood by the new generation(schooling) which teach the Fiorentine dialect or offical Italian

  6. Oh, thank you for this! All my life my grandmother would shake her wooden spoon at me and call me scooch or scocciamente and I never knew how to spell them.

  7. I grew up in South Philly and was 1st generation American. My mom, dad, and friends rarely spoke proper Italian, but spoke a combination of slang, dialect, corrupted Italian words, and made up words with Italian origins.

    One word was “baccahous” which meant bathroom or toilet. I was told many early Italian immigrants worked as laborers for contractors. Very few people at the time had indoor plumbing and homes had outhouses in the back. (They used pee pots inside for when it was too cold at night in the winter to go outside). When they asked to use the toilet facilities, they were told it was in the “back of the house.” This phrase was Italianized and became the word, “baccahous”.

    If you remember there was a song by Lou Monte, Pepino the Mouse. The entire song is made up of corrupted Italian words. In it he uses baniarol (banyarol) and scaciata (scashata), which mean bathtub and smash or squish. Don’t ask me where those words came from, but we used them all the time.

    There was another group of words that were interchangeable. They were “a facia tu/te, a fesse tu/te, or a fessa/facia da sorida.” (Facia was pronounced facchia). These meant your face or your sister’s face. These were used primarily amongst friends to insult each other. So, let’s say someone cut loose a really gross fart. They would say to their friend, a faccia tu, or a fessa da sorida, which meant your face or your sister’s face. Your faces were compared to a fart.

    Sometimes an adult would use it as a mild oath. One time my mom dropped a big bowl of spaghetti all over the floor and she cursed, a fessa da sorida. She cursed the spaghetti’s “sister’s face”.

    Sometimes when we wanted to go tell someone to go fuck himself, we wouldn’t just say vafagul. We would say the proper Italian, “va fa culo.” Except it was pronounced very articulately as if given a few exclamation points at the end. The va, fa, and culo were drawn out with the “cu” in culo given an extra emphasis. It would come out, vaa faa cuuulo!!!

    There are more words, but I hope these bring back memories.

    • Hey, this totally sounds like my relatives in Canada, who are italian immigrants!
      Only i have to say that “a fess e soreta” doesn’t mean “in your sister’s face”… it is a bit more offensive (it means “your sister’s vagina” to say it politely!)
      I’m telling you because if you ever come to Italy and say that, it is really really unpolite :)

      Also, to the writer of the post, “cornuto” is not the unfaithful husband but the husband whose wife is unfaithful :)

      • actually fessa means fool. so when they say “a fess e soreta” they are saying to the fool that is your sister… which is still cold. did anyone ever hear “alle murte tue”? where i guess they curse the dead?

  8. I forgot to mention fesse meant fool, also. It was like the word cafone.

  9. Hey a great fun to read. I’m Polish and I’m writing my thesis on family values and culture of Italian-Americans based on The Sopranos, and this mini-dictionary happened to be really interesting, so thanks a lot for Your effort.

  10. Very nice job! Funny thing: I am from Pittsburgh, PA and understood and remember the vast majority of these words and phrases being used (though some of the consonant sounds are a bit harder i.e. gavone to cavone, statagitt’ to statazitt’, etc.) I am twenty-four and I, myself, remember using the word baccaus’ for “bathroom” in school. Of course, none of my ‘medigan teachers knew what I was saying! Another popular phrase that I grew up with was to say when seeing someone, “Wai-i-o?” (Literally pronounce, Y-E-O). I was told it was a standard Italian greeting; my aunt went so far as to have her license plate changed to read Y-E-O! Boy, weren’t we surprised when we found out that it wasn’t Italian at all, but Italians trying to pronounce the English “How are you?”!

    Send an e-mail my way! I’d like to talk. Visit my page on i-Italy. As a matter of fact, everyone here should create there own page! It is an awesome Italian/Italian-American networking site.

    • “‘medigan” .. love it! hahaha I

      translation for those not familiar = “American”

      I remember my Italian grandmother always grumbling that word at my father, who was of Scottish decent, when she was not pleased with him or when referring to his side of the family!

    • What’s your email, Chris?

    • I believe that /Y-E-O/, as you said they pronounced, wasn’t the italians trying to pronounce “hoe are you”. I think it was the word from dialect of Neaples “Guagliò, or Uagliò – this second is exactly pronounced like the capital letters Y E O) and means “boy, kid” . It is used like “Hey man!” as greeting between mates.
      btw:
      “Goompa” is the slightly altered “Cumpà”(dialect of Neaples), in italian “compare”. It means “mate”.

      • I can remember my father’s people saying “Hey! Y O” exactly as the two letters Y and O (not “yo”). I have a cousin who when we get together still says “Hey! Y O!” and it cracks me up every time. My grandfather said it all the time.

  11. Love this!!!Thanks to Tony Soprano, my 16 year old thinks it’s so cool to say gabbagul…to my mother’s dismay. Her family is from Northern Italy and insists that Tuscano is proper Italian. My father, god rest his soul, would say “gabbagul” and “supra sa”…but he was “Naballidon”. My parents teased me when I was little by saying the biangolin man left me at the wrong house. And if you were being a little too demanding you were dubbed…paduna de buccahaus…boss of the buck (out) house. Good work!

  12. Wow, great job. Im from South Jersey, third generation, my whole family came from south Philly. You are right on the money with those definitions. The pronunciations were dead on. Especially the food, “calamad, managot”, etc.

    I know there is a ton that you dont have in there yet but I always waondered why my father and grand father would say “Putiga” when suprised or as if to say oh my god. I know the real translation is bottle (bottiglia). Just never made sense why one would say bottle when surprised….

    Good luck on the dictionary. I would deffinately buy it when its ready

  13. Growing up in central Long Island during the 1970′s, I heard many of these expressions and although I’m not Italian-American I incorporated them into my daily tongue. I have long since left Long Island and after my son asked me for the umpteenth time what ‘maron’ meant, I had to confess it was just an expression I picked up. He said, “what if you are saying something bad.” I set out to prove him wrong and your website has left me corrected! I enjoyed the read and the trip down memory lane.

    • “Maronn’ or Maronna” is simply the southern Italy’s dialects form for “Madonna”. That is the italian name for jesus’ mother Mary (or at least that’s what I’m told), so… when americans say “Oh God!” ,”Oh my God!”. “Jesus!” italians say “Oh mio Dio” or “Dio mio” “Gesù” or ” Madonna!” and sometimes even “mamma mia!” ;)

      • Actually, my mother would say “Madonna Mia” – My Mother. But not like the rock star Madonna – sounded more like “ma doan a mi a” – How it ever got the “r” in it must be because “Amiddicans” knew that Rs were pronounced like Ds. Silly Amiddicans. lol

  14. Brooklin, really?

  15. Some of my grandmother’s favorite phrases — I am guessing at the spellings (her people came from Venice, but be different and don’t be hatin’ just ’cause we come from the north-lol):

    Colo roto sczifoso — comparable to “son-of-a-bitch,” literally “dirty, stinking, broken, smelly ass.”

    Vrgone! — “shame on you!” usually shouted as she waved a wooden spoon at us.

    Quanto costa? — What the hell did you pay for that? You paid too much!

    Vecha Strega — my aunt’s crazy mean mother-in-law, or “old witch.”

  16. lots of these are non-sense for me and im italian :D

  17. the three unknown words ->

    scumanegats — Stupid F–K

    gita schlamorta gita mort — You ought to die spitting blood.. ( a very bad curse)

    fanabola te parida angula sord’ — Your father and your sister should burn in hell together (another bad curse)

    • omg they’re LOVELY

  18. sorry, correction on that translation.

    fanabola te parida angula sord’ — bascially “to hell with your father and your sisters ass also”. litterall translation is ( “go to naples your father and your sisters ass.”)

  19. looking for spelling for a phrase that was said to wish someone another hundred years. ex: i would say, I’m 52 and they would come back with something like “per cent’anni” any ideas?

    • incorrect spelling but the word is pronounced ‘gen-don’. The spelling looks nothing like the pronounceation..

      • the spelling is correct italian 100%. Per cent’anni – for one hundres years. The meaning is that if you say so during.. let’s say a toast in a birthday party, you wish for one other hundred years to live a day like that (birthdays parties).

      • That’s because the immigrants all spoke dialect, mostly from the Italian Southern regions.
        Cent’anni is the right spelling in Italian and it means”hundred years” . The dialects already distorted the Italian pronunciation. The way Americans heard it and reproduced it furtherly distorted the Italian dialect pronunciation.

    • for one hundred years

    • cent anni means a Hundred Years.

    • Maria sounds like they were giving you a good wish to live “for a hundred years” which is what per cent anni means in Italian. (with cent sound like “chent”).

  20. Although I appreciate your attempt to spread knowledge of (Southern) Italian-American terminology, a lot of it is misspelled and not accurate. Good work though

    • Hey Vin, I grew up in central NJ with my Sicilian family in the 50′s and 60′s and all the words in this dictionary are what I heard around my house. Everything started with a “G” instead of a “C”, like gavatel instead of cavatelli. And all the word’s endings were cut-off. Reading these words and most everyone’s was awesome! Thanks.

  21. beeuutyful

  22. Thanks for letting me know how mean spirited and foul mouthed my dad really was. (It was still funny though). Have you ever heard the phrases, “Mangiese la canne” (May you be eaten by dogs) or “Mangiese la zudicce” (May you be eaten by rats).

    • My other used to say something that was supposed to mean “may you be eaten by rats” or “I hope the rats eat you” and it sounded like “get the mongenay zuddicci” but I could never find it anywhere to know the real translation because her italian pronunciation left a lot to be desired since she was born in the US but we lived in Rockland County in NY and her dad and mom were Italian. I guess it was the “Mangiese la zudiccie” that she was trying to say.

      Joyce

      • get the mongenay = che ti mangino (I wish that… eat you)
        “i zuddicci” I have no idea, possibly “i sudici” (the dirty ones), a way to call rats? I am an Italian living in the US and this is truly fascinating!

  23. A real treat to see in print again (after many years) expressions I heard growing up in West New York, Hudson Co. How about ‘engood-a-sorda’ – your sisters ass. Spoken at the end of an argument.

  24. Love the site. Brings me back to my childhood.

    Anyone know what “mastandone” means?

    • I believe it’s “mascalzone” – rascal, rogue, but not in a malicious way.

  25. It’s a bit strange the way you wrote italian slang words and you catched very different dialects from different regions, but it’s a funny idea. Thanks

  26. In Italy a thousand tongues

  27. Grazi Tant’
    I was reared in Wildwood, N.J. and my family used almost every slang you mentioned. I know my grandparents, aunts and uncles did know proper Italian because they were very proud to say they went to school in Italy like it was a big deal.
    I still use these dialect words all the time without thinking about it!! I can’t believe how much influence the old people had on me. I would love to have them all and their slangs with me today!!

  28. Very Good. It is true. You will hear these words in areas where southern Italian immigrants settled. You will particularly hear these slang words in areas such as Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and the Bronx, NY as well as Boston and Philly. Most people who come from a southern italian american background have probably grown up hearing and using these words. These words are still used today in italian american homes and communities.

  29. Does anyone know the phrase ” ghet toe zong” that is how it sounds, bleed from the tongue or something, my parents use to say that to me in brooklyn.

    • Jim,

      That would mean, spit or throw up blood. That would be used in arguments.

      • It could also refer to someone who works very hard and is “sweating blood”, in reference to hard manual labor.

  30. Apparently, much of this has to do with the dialect for certain parts of the country. Many of these words and phrases are pronounced quite differently, and many also take on a completely different meaning.
    This one stands out: mortadafam’ – really hungy/starving (morta da fame) [moart-aa-daa-faam]

    Used in anger, it translated, Death to your family!

    • if you yell to someone “morto di fame” you are insulting him, more or less telling him is a tramp, a loser, someone who cannot even provide food for himself (morire di fame – starve to death)

  31. Does anyone else remember using the term “pizza fritt” for the fried dough everyone else calls zeppoli?

    • Yes. My aunt in Schenectady, NY still makes it!

    • Yes, Pizza Frizza. My mom made it whenever she made pizza.

    • My grandmother and mother made the fried dough in the shape of a donut and called them “belly busters”

    • Yes we did! We are Marchegiani, Siciliani, and ‘Basiligaga’ :).

    • My family always used pizza frit for fried dough or zeppoli or st joe’s cake

  32. I was trying to find the spelling for “cool-couli” (cold ass)

  33. “Cazzo” does not mean “balls.” It means the bit in between the balls. “Palle” is the word for “balls” as in: Non mi rompere le palle. (Don’t break my balls.)

    Also in my family in Boston (1940′s) we used the word “iceabox” for any cooling device be it a real ice box or a refrigerator.

    “Ammazza Cristi” (Christ killer) was a derogatory term for a Jew. (Most people don’t know it but Boston’s North End was a Jewish sector before it became an Italian one.)

    “braggiol’” (Italian “braciola”) is not meat and sauce. It is a piece of meat (in those days a skirt or flank steak because they were cheap cuts of meat) sprinkled with cheeses, herbs, etc.; then rolled up and tied with string and cooked in the sauce (we always called it gravy) for the pasta.

    “skorchamend” ought to be spelled with a “c”

    Provalon’ was for provalone, which is itself an augmentative of “provola” a mild cheese, common in Italy, but I’ve never seen it in this country.

    With regard to cingubezz, in my grandfather’s seed store we also used “bezz” for “dollar” and “zol” (=soldi) for “cent.” So a dollar fifty would be: Na bezz, chinquanda zol.

    “Citrull” is another form of “gidrul”; I think the initial “g” instead of “c” is a Southern Italian characteristic. In this vein “cazzo” becones “gazz”

    Our “statagitt” was simply “stagitt”.

    Instead of the word “Pressemolo” for “parsley” we said “petrosino”; and “arughetta” was used for “arugula.”

    Hope these are useful
    Don Sordillo

    • My mother made braggiol exactly the way you describe it! My sisters, my brother and I have all tried to duplicate hers but we never have. I miss her cooking soooo much. My brother, who is the oldest, is the best cook out of the four of us.

  34. Great stuff

    One that also comes to mind is “Brishca brolia” meaing a meal made from leftovers usually bound by eggs (sort of a garbage omlette) or to mean anythingb that was all mixed up. Example “Clean your room, it’s all Brishca brolia”

  35. Back to “cornuto”, although it could mean unfaithful husband, in English it is “Cuckhold” or a man who watches his wife have sex with other men either by his own or the wife’s demands. In these days of sharing and swapping it may not be considered the actual true insult it is, one of the highest magnitude. In Italy no man with honor would pimp out his wife so calling someone a cornuto or cornude is like calling a man a cunt.

    • Or in the words of Joe Pesce in Goodfellas, “contento e cornuto.”- Content to be a jerk.

  36. Jim, “Gette u sangue”, or variations in dialects for “gette il sangue” would mean to spit or let (throw) out the blood. I think it was meant as ” te gette u sangue ” which would mean I’m gonna make you bleed, or more like I’ll beat the blood out of you!

    • I grew up hearing this all the time. It can refer to someone who is a hard working person, such as “Father is working so hard that he is sweating blood (“getta lo sangue”) to support the family.

    • Ok.. I’m a real Italian ( I mean I was born in Italy, grew up there and still live here). My parents are from calabria, so I understand a lot of this terms. Because the main thing that all of you have to know is that all this expressions come from varius dialects of southern Italy (Napoletano-from Naples, Calabrese-frommCalabria, and Siciliano-from Sicily).
      These three dialects are quite similar among them, most of the time there are only slight fonetic differences in these idiomatic expressions from one dialect to another, while the differences with standard italian are more relevant.
      In this example, (iett’ u sang’ – as a calabrese would pronouce it), litterally is “to throw away the blood”, in the meaning of “to have one’s blood suck it away from oneself.
      It simply means “go to work”. Where the work, of course, is intended extremely hard physically (like working in a farm, in mines ecc..)

  37. does anyone remember “gloves” being called “wans” or something similar to that. i grew up in cicero, il n most italians in my neighborhood were calabrese as i am.

    • Gloves in Italian are guanti.

  38. This is fantastic! It’s like having my grandmother here with me. You have everything she used to say on your list. This is the Italian I grew up with! I have looked everywhere for something like this. Thank you!!!

    Just fyi — My grandmother’s family was from southern Sicily. They moved to Jersey City, and then upstate, NY. My grandfather, who was from Palermo, even spoke differently, and told my grandmother her Italian was “wrong.” ;-)

  39. “Ghet tu zong” literally means “bleed”.

    Some more of my favorites, growing up in th Bronx and Queens were:
    ” Shcafadeel un gool ” which means ‘ shove it up your _ss ‘
    ” Goocutz or googats” lterally meaning small cucumber also moron.
    ” Fanobola, tu e tre quatro de vostro baez ” meaning ‘go to hell, you and three quarters of your ancestors’

    Other favorites: Oofah!, Meenchia!, Strunz,

    • Frankiebaby,

      Do you have a good translation for Oofah!, Meenchia!
      I’ve heard these alot in my childhood and know when to
      use them but I can’t put my finger on what they mean.

  40. Growing up in “Little Italy in the Bronx”, the Belmont/Arthur Ave section, I am familiar with most of these phrases. Many of them were told to me by my maternal grandmother, Marguerite Barbarotto from Palermo and the Bronx. Thank you for these wonderful memories, some of which I still use today.

  41. Top 5 sayings, I heard so much of from my ‘angry all the time’ dad. Calabrese dialect: 1. “Tido un cowchoe’lintu cooloh” Standard Italian: Ti do un calcio in tuo culo. I’ll kick your ass!
    2.”PieryallahmeeZzeryia” or “Manayeeaha LA Mizeria” Per la Miseria. Oh hell no!!!
    3. “inculoAHmamate” in culo a tua mama. MotherF–ker!!! more I can write a book.
    4. Kecazzu fahyee duohKew? Che cazzo ci fai? What the f–k are you doing over there?
    5. Fanu ‘ShKaffu eentuol’ Fachew, Se’nonDiBasta! Ti do uno schiaffa in tua faccia, se non ti smettila. I’ll smack your face if you don’t stop it!

  42. What’s the word for pasta strainer that’s something like: scewda macaron

    • Hi George,

      I know exactly what you are talking about. Not sure of the exact spelling, but I’ll put it down as I think and then phonetically shcallamacaroon shhka-la-mok-a-roon Hope this helps

      • A woman on Story Corps remembered going shopping for a colander with her Italian grandmother (who spoke no English) as a little girl. The old woman circled and circled the store looking before she finally went to the man behind the counter. Frustrated, she said, “macaroni stoppa, water gawhead.” The owner knew exactly what she meant and got her one.
        This list is terrific. My parents were laughing at how many they used to hear. I’m sad that that older generation is dying off, but some of these phrases will never die.

      • I love this story. my mom and i were laughing about it… macaroni stoppa water gawahead. LOL! that’s great <3

    • In my house it was scula pasta, and the pasta sounded more like basta.

  43. we used to say … scolapasta, drain pasta. we are from Bari in Puglia.

  44. Every Saturday morning in Bensonhurst in the 1950s, a truck would come around loaded with gallon bottles of (apparently) home made bleach. Ther guy had some lungs — He would call out, LOUD — something that sounded like “cha-velle,” or shavelle, or something like that. Is anyone familiar with this term? Any suggestions at how to spell it phonetically?

    • ours was called lastella

    • Yo Michael,
      That guy you speak of [that sold "ga-vell"] don’t forget, in dialect ‘cha’ is pronounced as a ‘G’, & they usually dropped the last letter(s) of the word too. Anyway, he must’ve worked his way all the way over to So. Jamaica, Queens because you got it 152% right!! Don’t forget, the bottles had CORK stoppers in ‘em & he would leave ‘em @ the side door if my Grandmother would miss him. I thought that was the word for bleach ’cause I used the word in class once (ONLY) & everyone (teacher too) thought I was ‘Oobatz!!!’

      P.S. I also remember the coal man w/ the chain drive truck, the junk man w/ the horse (w/ the bells around his belly) cart, the ice man, the eggman (w/ the push cart), all were Italian…

    • We had the same in North Jersey…but I thought he was saying “jabell” water.
      The correct name is “Javel” and it was used as laundry bleach, pretty much the same as “Chlorox” back in the day.

  45. Thank you from the bottom of my Heart for writing this Dictionary, Mille Grazie !!! I stand Proud when I say that The Real italian Family way is and will always be very very Strong in my Tight Knit Family, We eat sleep and breathe Our culture still to this very day. I grew up this Italian Way and I sing it from my Italian Heart everytime i perform at my Shows. Ciao, sincerely, Moe BellaGloria The italian Singer ” King of the 1 Hour Shows ” !! YouTube.com/MoeBellaGloria

  46. How do you say and spell castle in the neapolitain dialect?

    • maybe ” ‘u castillo” not sure.

  47. Great collection of the Italian words and phrases I heard growing up in the 1950′s on the east coast. I finally understand the meaning of struntz and yes Uncle Beans was a struntz! :)

  48. this dictionary is very interesting: it shows how lively a language can be and it’s amazing how people can transform it!

    great job :)

  49. Whoever made this dictionary–thank you very much. I laughed like crazy!

  50. One thing I didn’t see (but hear all the time, especially from older women, like my mother-in-law) is “Oo-di!” It’s used in a moment of panic, like when the “mopeen” (also “mopeena”, ie “dishtowel”) catches on fire because you’ve been waving it around the gas stove as you talk, while you’re cooking.

    Another one I hear is “shah-quad” (phonetic spelling), which means (or so I’m told) “all crooked” or “messy”. For example, my niece–a teacher in Texas–once told her students as they walked through the corridor to an assembly, “Straighten up this line. It’s all shaquad!” (At which point, one of her students–a recent transfer from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina–said, “Hey! Shaquad! That’s my sister’s name!” (I love that story…)

    Honestly, when I first met my husband and his family, I thought the words they used were made up. I’m still not convinced that some of them aren’t. (Jalapida momida?) But this site has given some credibility to the musical and sometimes comical utterances I hear from day to day. I’ve bookmarked it for reference. (WHAT did you call me?)

    • “Oo-di!” would mean “Oh, God!” “O Dio!” Mopeen is a made up word for a dishtowel. Kind of Americanized. “Shah-quad.” would stand for d’aquato- which is something like watered down or watered. So, when you say that to someone, it would mean their brain is full of water or watered down.

    • I’m wondering if sha-quad is the same as (this is phonetic) shaquat. This is what my mom said, “Italian men like their women to be bella shaquat. You know bella shaquat? Like a tomato so ripe the skin has split.” Her parents were from Sicily.

  51. I grew up in my grandmothers house hearing a lot of these words.to see them in one place brings back so many memories of growing up.she passed away on august 27 2011 and I will miss her everyday but I will keep her memory alive by teaching my children these words so that when I’m gone they can teach there children.the warmth that I feel every time I hear one of these words or hear somebody speak in napolitan or broken English is indescribable.I hope to visit my grandmothers hometown in avellino sometime in the near future.anyway thank you for this website

  52. My grandmother came here at age 13 in 1887 from a small town not far from Potenza. They lived at first in St. Anthony’s parish below Greenwich Village, then in the west 30′s around 9th ave. My mother, born 1907, was the ninth of eleven children and didn’t speak much Italian but words she did sometimes use were Neopolitan dialect. She occasionally made a kind of stuffed bread she called what sounded like figuatz. Standard Italian would have been fogasse or foccacia. And the simple meal of macaroni and beans sounded something like basta vasool rather than pasta e fagioli.

    • There is no J in Italian thus the G can be either hard or soft. Napiltons (Neopolitans from Naples) are criticized even in Italy for dropping all the endings of words. Fagioli becomes Fagool and in America, Fasool. So you’re right and all the menus in America are wrong. Hope this helped.

  53. I grew up in East Boston and heard many of the words listed. Did I miss cedemonia (ceremony)to describe someone , usually a woman, making too big a deal about something. A complaint. Fa la cerimonia.
    Or, mezza stunard’; scumbari; gatzee (maybe from Yiddish) and chiaccheressa (chatterbox)… something I was often accused of being.
    I’ve studied language corruption. Sometimes regional differences, Boston vs. NYC, might be also be due to effect of other immigrant languages. In Boston there were Polish and Yiddish words in the mix. It all made for a very rich “gravy”.
    I do a one-woman show on two Italian-American women. It’s rich in language; mostly cultural difference and problems of assimilation. And often very comical.
    Thanks.

    • Hi Laura,
      I am Sicilian and grew up in the SF Bay Area. All four grandparents from Lentini/Catania area. Some settled in Boston, some in Omaha (?), and the bravest ones came out here. After much research, I found we also had a lot of Yiddish in our daily language. I am interested in your one-woman show. Where do you perform? I’d love to take my family!
      Thanks, Geralyn Giese

    • We used (still use) gatzee/gatzees, meaning little decorative but useless things… anyone else? Also, scasciad (ska-shaad) meant messy, disorganized, shitty, screwed up. Spacone meaning flashy person (guido/mob wife type).

  54. I grew up in Lorain, Ohio during the ’50s and ’60s, the product of a Sicilian-Polish marriage. We lived in my Sicilian grandfather’s home and I heard lots of these expressions from him and my numerous relatives. Reading this has brought back a lot of memories, especially of the holiday celebrations we had at this time of year.
    Does anyone recall hearing a children’s song or rhyme with words that sound like this? (Pardon my spelling — I’m doing this phonetically).
    Calencita,
    Somaterita
    Rege mangia l’ove (“The king eats eggs”?!)
    i bebe mangia chicche chicchie (chicky chicky?) . . .
    and I don’t remember the rest.
    My mom used to sing this to me when I was very little. Anyone know the rest or the correct words?
    Thanks so much and buon natale!
    Jeannine S.

    • In my family in Worcester, MA, my Sicilian Grandmother would sing this song.

      A woga a woga
      a rege mangia l’ova
      a mama la adina
      a (insert child’s name hear) goo abanza agina…rey, rey, rey!

  55. Love love love this dictionary- helped me to remember some of the terms that were forgotten once my grandparents had gone! I also remember the oh -de!! My family immigrated to Boston and Providence!! Still use some of these to teach my own kids now I have more!

  56. My Napoletane grandmother grandmother had a good response when I asked her what’s for dinner.
    o’cazze ‘e ciuccio cu cucuzzille e l’ove
    u gazza di chooch cu googoozeel e loave (phonetics)
    donkey dicks (literally) with squash & eggs

    • My father still says that, we live in Toronto, Canada o’cazze ‘e ciuccio cu cucuzzille e l’ove

    • LOL!

  57. I remember hearing, “Ha perduto la giobba,” meaning, of course, “He lost his job.”

  58. WOW…I didn’t hear a lot of those word in a long time..My mother and father used to use all the words above

  59. Anyone ever hear of the word yachetone (spelling??) It means someone who talks too much, or at least that’s how we use it in our family!

    • pronounced “kee-ak-ya-done” (“done” like “own”)
      means someone who talks too much.

    • Lol! It’s “chiacchierone”

    • The real word would be chiacchierone (pronounced KYA-kye-RONE)

    • Hi Ralph,
      Yes I have but know it from the Italian: Chiarracar(r)one.

      Buon pomergiggio,

      Richie

    • The word my mother always used was chiacchierone. I guess yachetone is midway between english and italian!

    • Yes. Southern Italians leave of the initial hard-g or hard-k sound, so English ice is modern Italian ghiaccio but is pronounced yaccio. So Southern Italian you mentoned “yachetone” is modern Italian chiachierione (pronounced something like kyakyerone, meaning “chatterbox.”

  60. I found this very interesting because I am studying Italian, but it was mostly unfamiliar to me because all my Italian ancestors came from northern Italy, mostly in the early to mid 1800s, and their descendants whom I knew (unfortunately) only spoke English.

  61. alot of the spelling is wrong. You pretty much summed it up but correct some of those spellings. You have words using the letter K in it. Where Italians not russians. Lol

    • You meant to say, “We’re (we are) Italians not Russians.” See how easy it is for words to get misspelled. Imagine how it was for our grandparents and great-grandparents when they first came here not knowing a word of English. I believe the dictionary is meant to give all possible spellings, whether correct or incorrect, that were commonly used, especially since many words were “made-up” or combined English and Italian. Just Enjoy!

  62. Do you know this one ? :
    Shuncad – meaning in a real bum or low life, worse than a gavon.

    • Shuncad lol! That’s Abruzzese dialect also means lazy, sloppy

  63. Thanks! Lots of fun reading this dictionary and seeing so much from the East coast. This sure reminds me of our experience.

    In California’s 1970′s San Francisco Bay Area, a lot of us, who grew up with Sicilian in the home and among our family and friends, did not know until our high school Italian class teacher informed us, that what we knew, was not Italian: for example, idda and iddu were not Italian for he (Lui) and she (Lei); piccirriddu and piccirridda were not Italian for little boy (Ragazzino) and little girl (Ragazzina); and, areri was not Italian for again (di nuovo). Many, believing they’d get an easy A, were in for a rude awakening! And, in everyday life, for example, it was especially enlightening for us to discover that a scula pasta is a collander and a cupino is a ladle!

    Then, after high school and college Italian, I learned about Professor Cipolla, of New York’s John Hopkins University, who leads Arba Sicula, a
    world-wide organization dedicated to the preservation of Sicilian culture and language. For those who are interested, this organization has plenty of interesting books available through LEGAS that may be of interest. I have enjoyed all of them, and I refer to Bonner’s Sicilian Grammar book often.

    Thanks again!

  64. I grew up with a different word for fart. My grandmother was from Sicily and we called it beetadul. I am sure I spelled it wrong but I thought that was the word for fart until I was older.I grew with a lot of slang Italian words. like umbriago which means no good drunker. and spinata which means all messed up.Probably spelled wrong too.

    • Darlene, I knew how to phonetically say fart in middle class italian [scoreggio] and in sicilian it is [pirito]. We pronounced it: [pee di too]. So there you have it, now you can call someone a fart in two italian dialects. I feel like I did this site a favor.
      Vinnie from Buffalo & now in Cincinnati.

  65. what is the slang word for toilet or bathroom? I keep hearing what sounds like “pichadu” on the Sopranos…molto grazi!

    • Wow, over a year ago, no matter. Anyway, the slang word for bathroom is “beckausu” (bec-cow-sue) which is literally the American term “back house”. Before there was indoor plumbing and toilets, there was the back or out house”

    • You are correct with pichadu. I have heard that word countless times growing up. In fact, when one of us kids would pour a big glass of water or milk ot whatever, my Dad would say, “look at the pichadua”, meaning like a big piss pot. Has anyone ever heard a spanking referred to as a “scupalone”? Or the curse “Che te potz e shcattar”? Pardon the spellings.

  66. here’s some others i say/know of which i didn’t see here
    or reply to. i am in Rhode Island, we come from between Rome and Naples.
    Places like Fondi, Itri, Montecalvo, Raviscanina.

    - pouton (whore) “poo-tahn”
    - bombaleeth (drunk) (with the “th” like the, a dead stop.)
    - spah-cone, shpa-cone (american guido, flashy man, showoff)
    - scoom-bah-dee (ashamed, embarrased)
    - scoos-tha-mahd (eating too much, like a pig)
    - ma-nej or ma-nejja (darn it, frustration)
    - doo-ya-vach (two-faced person)
    - bobba-lawks (cobwebs)
    - ah-speth (wait !) -ah-speth-a-mee-notes (wait a minute)
    - moo-thon-thees (longjohns, thermal underpants)
    - skee-votes (eww, something gross, a verb)
    - fritatta (free-todd) egg sandwich

  67. I grew up in Pittsburgh, and now live in Chicago, me and my amicci and familigia in both places still talk this way amongst ourselves.

  68. maronn! semplicemente bellissimo. bravi! keep going!

  69. Trying to get a spelling and meaning for “ga gatz” or just “gatz”. I thought it meant “nothing”, as in, “that particular credit card doesn’t give you points or any kind of rewards. They give you “gatz”, or “ga gatz”.” meaning “nothing”. Implied sarcastically or with disdain, or disgust. Can you help me with this? Couldn’t find it in your glossary which by the way is quite extensive and brings back memories of my “yoot”, to quote Joe Pesci in “My cousin, Vinny”!

    • My grandmother used to say ungatz for nothing and eegatz when something sounded ridiculous and cagatz when she was frustrated if you or anybody can figure that out let me know. She was napolitano

      • Ronnie- as for the word, “eegatz”- I wonder if that’s where Americans get our expression, “eegads!” I have no idea, just thinking.

  70. what great help this has been, i`m semi retired and attempting to write a book about Italian Americans in New York. Why i`ve chosen this subject i just dont know,but how fascinating and how useful is this.

    Mitch John, Cyprus. April 24 April 2012.

  71. One thing to keep in mind is that there are at least three origins of the “Italian” language; the “proper” Italian, dialect specific to each region/municipality, and the bastardization of dialect we usually call Italian-American; which is the subject of this thread. Italy began as a loose collection of city states that grew to regions and has only been considered a unified country for a century or so. Thus the customs, food preparation, and language vary widely. The “proper” Italian is probably most connected to Roma and from my experience growing up in Central New York and in the culture of Abbruzza di Molise, I would say that the dialect above is most closely associated with “Nabbalatan,” or the bastardized dialect of those from Naples.

  72. Love this list! Thank you! But “maronna mia” is not “My God” but “my blessed mother” or “Our Lady” – it is “madonna mia” where “madonna” refers to the Madonna, the Blessed Virgin Mary, not the singer! :-)

  73. I remember a word my father would say for linoleum , not sure but he used to say ,,, time to lay the Shidodd

  74. Very good to read. My father’s family originates from Siciliy and immigrated to Birmingham, AL through New Orleans. Funny to see how similar the “American Italian” I heard growing up is to the Northeast version! The biggest diffrerence I see is that the people here add an ‘ah’ sound at the end of the words. I appreciate your work, my wife now has a better understanding of some of the things my Dad says!

  75. the bacousa

  76. My mom always said, “Company’s coming,” whenever someone dropped a spoon on the floor. I’ve always wondered if that was a Sicilian superstition, or just a thing in my own family–I’ve never heard anyone else saying that.

    I was called testaduda, hard headed, as a stubborn child.

    One of my great aunts, after a meal, always said, “Per la bocca,” meaning she wanted just a little taste of something sweet to finish, “For the mouth.”

    When we were little and asked to be picked up, grownups would say no, “You’re a big baccala.” I felt a bit insulted when, years later, I learned baccala means codfish. Hmmph.

    I would REALLY love to know more about this next word. I’ve never heard anyone else say it:

    My great uncle was getting out of his car when my brother Steve and boisterous cousin David stuck their heads out the upstairs window and called down, “Hey, Uncle Gerry!” Uncle Gerry shouted back up, “Hey, hey, hey musutu (moo-SOO-too). When the boys came downstairs, my cousin asked, “Grandma, what’s musutu mean?” She started laughing, saying, “Who calla you musutu, Davey?” David replied, “Uncle Gerry, but he could have been calling me, he could have been calling Steve, I don’t know.” She said, “Oh, no, Davey–He calla YOU. Musutu mean bigga mouth.”

  77. I used to get called ma-jah-gul-loop. Or at least something to that effect… lol. Does anybody here know what I’m referring to?

    ‘What are you doing? You ma-jah-gul-loop.’

    • Bacigalupo is an Italian surname, and it was the name of a character on the old Abbott & Costello TV show who was a clownish sort of Chico Marx stereotype, although he was much shrewder than Chico. Maybe you were being compared to Bacigalupo.

  78. Dear Fellows, I really don’t believe my eyes..i’ve been looking around for ages , for someone to share the dictionary of..my Granma who used to speak the Sicilian-American dialect. and i know all of those words plus others..it’s wonderful knowing that all those words are not getting lost..
    Carru -Car
    parkari lu carru – park the car
    begghicella – the bag
    iettasangu- a person who makes you spit blood..
    and many more..

  79. My family uses many of these words all of the time. Italians from Rhode island baby.

  80. here’s a few classics…

    ga’binyost-gossiping
    Ficonazz’-nosy
    Mopiiiiiin’-dish towel
    And a favorite VA’FRITT’-go fry!

    I love that you mention gagutz. Its a fave.

    I grew up in Rhode Island…. Jersey and Brooklyn are pretty Italian, but Rhode Island is actually where the Italian plurality is in the USA. Literally EVERYONE in my hometown was at least part Italian. Imagine a whole state where everyone appreciates pasta vazool in gravy ;-) and the joys of ravioli night, where bakeries dont close Sundays but on Mondays, where most people understand these words even with Lois Griffin accents… And the office assistants pronounced your name right when you get called to the office in high school. Even if it had more vowels and syllables than folks in like Idaho would assume possible :-)

  81. My mother uses the Naples pronunciation for grandfather — thathone. Does anyone know what it means and the possible spelling?

  82. What is the word for being treated like a don…gabaditch?? many thanks.

  83. Has anyone ever heard the word ‘smozza tudda’ – (pronounced smoe -tsah -TOO- dah) used for ‘broccoli? Everyone I know of Italian descent uses this word instead of the standard Italian ‘broccoli’.

    There were so many English words incorporated into not only the Italian language of early immigrants but into the dialects as well. I read a short article a long time ago about this phenomenon. I found a link to it once on the web but forgot to save it. Hysterical stuff, as entire sentences are mixed in with the dialects, such as ‘sti sciusi allucunnu naisi’ for ‘these/those shoes look nice’. If I locate it I’ll post the link here – that is, if people still read these replies.

    I would ask my dad how to say something in Italian and he would do one of four things: come out with the proper word, come out with a Sicilian dialect pronunciation of the standard Italian word, come out with an entirely different word (such as the above mentioned ‘smozzatudda’), or come out with the English-Italian- Sicilian gumbo mixture. I remember a lot of them, and if interest is still here, I can post them.

    Great website.

  84. Love the list! It brings back a lot of memories. We live in Toronto, and my folks are from Molise. I believe our dialect is fairly close to the Neapolitan. My sister & I have always gotten a kick out of the familiar words that show up on the Sopranos.
    I think the spelling of many of the words is up for debate, because they really are primarily spoken.

    Forgive me if I’m missing these in the list or comments above:

    -gualio’ (pronounced “waleeo” = gualione = guy, boy
    Tony uses this is one episode, when he’s watching a Mickey Rooney movie. My sister and I found it hilarious

    -mangana’un = not even one
    It was only after I studied Italian in University that I realized this is properly “neanche uno”.

    -this I have no clue how to spell, but it’s pronounced, “sherot” = jerk
    Does anyone know this word and how it should be spelled?

    • I should add my mom lived in Jersey City for three years, when she was a teenager. & we still have relatives there.

  85. has anyone head the phrase pitchada pepe? (not sure if im spelling it right)
    meaning when someone starts up about something

  86. The slang / dialect word for toilet is ( pisciaturo )
    I was born in Argentina to Neapolitan parents , the same phenomenon happen there with the Spanish language , the Italian influence created a new idiom called LUNFARDO,

  87. What about moo-nates? This was a word my family (Newark) used for a mess, or when something was in pieces. Like, “You put that cookie (bish-gawt) in your pocket and now it’s all in moo-nates. Also, what about un-gwike-ya? This was used for a meal that was just thrown together by a ‘medigan. Like, “I ordered the zupa-da-pashe at that new restaurant on the avenue and it was nothing but un-gwike-ya.” Lastly, what about coo-baad?, the feeling of being cramped or in a tight space. “We went over to their house for cake and coffee and their living room was so small I felt so coo-baad the whole time.”

  88. Also, coo-pa-LEEN, for a wool hat (ski hat). Your mother would say, “It’s cold out, make sure you wear your coo-pa-LEEN today.”

  89. [...] “salut” (salute), “bacouz” (bagno), e la lista continua, se volete, qui. Come potete vedere, molte sono parole vicine al napoletano o comunque ai dialetti del sud. Di [...]

  90. Thank you for a delightful trip down the memory lane of Brooklyn 60s-70s. I was a French Canadian married into a Brooklyn/LI family. 7 years in Brooklyn was an education for which I should have gotten 2 years of college credits, that is after the first year of shock and acclimating. Brooklyn folks are nice people…I liked it/them better than LI. I have met Italians visiting this country who have had snobby attitudes toward the Italian-American vernacular. And, my son, after going to college and living in Manhattan for a few years picked on me for my use of the Italian-American forms of everyday Italian words. I have respect for language that is local to a geographical area any where in the world. It comes with maturing and a growing sense of wonder about people and the world. (I have heard French mocking French Canadian speech. And, hey, the British make fun of us..along with the Welch, Irish, Scottish) Oh, and everyone corrected the Hebrew I was learning. Language seems to be part of people’s religion, though they don’t acknowledge it. My opinion is that it is all beautiful!! :)

  91. Just wish to say your article is as amazing. The clearness in your post is just great and i could assume
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    your articles? I mean, what you say is important and everything.
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  93. Congratulations ! “As we said in the Tenements in “da BRONX,”
    “YA DONE GOOD !”
    The Street Italian was, Napuletana, Siciliana, Baresa, Calabresa dialects and slang. Ya gotta know dat we wuz all First generation,not like the WANNABE
    ITALIANO’S who tried but could never make it with their ‘Merican interpretation of a Beautiful Language which blends itself in dialectical differences but still
    melodic. NO, I’m not a snob, just a Bronx street guy who grew up with it and takes great pride in our Heritage. Keep up the good work. I’m anxious to see any and all updates. TUTTO A POSTO.!
    Angelo

  94. I grew up with my grandmother and grandfather- she was from Sorrento and he was from Naples. They seemed to speak the same or similar dialects. Can someone tell me what “mouse” would be in Napolitan? it sounds phonetically like, “Zutagil” or sootagil. And snail- which they pronounced as “marruttz”. They had a saying which only makes sense in Napolitan, but means nothing in English- it was, “Manage o zutagil”, which they said meant, “Gosh darn, the mouse”. Anybody ever hear that expression?

    • Literally Mouse = TOPO or TOPOLINO
      NAPULETANO= SURACILLA (SU RA CHEELLA)
      Go to YouTube and pull up Pepino The Italian Mouse by Lou Monte
      and learn the NAPULETANO EXPRESSIONS.
      CIAO e. TUTTO POSTO.
      Angelo

      • Thank you, Angelo, now I see!

  95. I grew up in Queens second generation Italian, my father grew up in Brooklyn with his parents that imigrated from Avellino and this reminded me of them soooo much. This is 90% of the things they said. I actually say alot of these curses and never knew what they ment. Thanks for reminiding me of the good old days when they were here.

  96. Hello I am a Canadian, born in north western Quebec, in 1954. We are all living in Ontario now since 1965. My parents came from Calabria, Italy. We learned to speak their dialect. I recognize a lot of the words on your list. But I want to know if anyone ever says ” fuocu mio”. It’s used when something bad has happened. Or if you cannot stand something. I used to hear as well: e chimu ti jett u sangu. When someone was upset with someone they said this. Also: malanova mu ti vene. if you were bad. We use our dialect like we our own language using the language from their town, Gerocarne. I can say so many things. It is like I want to preserve this language. Just like your list. I studied French, Italian and Spanish. So I know how words should be spelled in Italian. For example: Amu din da iamu means: We must leave. In italian you write: Ce ne dobbiama andare. Another one: A duva jisti? Means: Where did you go? In Italian: Dove sei andato? Another: Cumu ti chiami? What is your name? Italian: Come ti chiami? Another: Cin dai iru. : means: They left. In Italian: Se ne sono andati. A duva ijiru? Where did they go? Dove sono andati? Oo vidi?. Do you see? Hai visto? Cin daiu. He went away. Se n’e andato. Cu vinne? Who came? Che e venuto? I have many more.

  97. I should have written: Ce ne dobbiamo andare.

    • Sorry, It should be; Chi e venuto?

  98. Really nice job! :) I’m italian and I think there are no chance to lost this “language” because in italy dialect is spoken by the most of people nowadays and most of them/us still have the american dream. So maybe you’re serach never stop :)

  99. I love this so much! I tried learning Italian and I realized that the pronunciations didn’t seem correct. Turns out all of these words were Brooklyn-ized. Spoken and understood here in Kearny, NJ and our roots in Brooklyn. Grazie for this!

  100. Thank you so much for this. I grew up in Brooklyn in the 70′s and 80′s and am half Italian: Napolitano and Calabrese. I heard many of these growing up. It makes me so homesick to read them now- my father is gone and I live on the West Coast.
    Also, reading this had made me inexplicably hungry. :-)

  101. When Neapolitan grandfather was referring to a guy who had a high opinion of himself he would call him, “Mastro Filippo” ?????? Who knows…maybe a reference to a local guy in the old country who was a big shot (bigga shotta). Also this from Sicilian grandmother…exclamation, “Oh, Maria Santissima!” Translated to “Oh, most sainted mother!”

    Anna Marie L. NJ/NY

  102. These words are certainly used in Cleveland, Ohio too. Thanks for the site!

  103. My Northern Italian mother used to say, in a situation where in English we might say, “”Well, he made a real pig’s ear/dog’s dinner/unholy mess outta that!” she’d say “a pasticcia,” to mean a jumble, which word I discovered later literally means “pie filling,” as in the word “pastry”(“dough with a filling”). As it happens, as a young kid I came across a description of a work of art as being a “pastiche,” and guessed, from knowing the word from Mom, that it meant a “mash-up” of sorts, and to my surprise, I found I was right; while it’s a French word which moved into English, it’s one of those cognate words which ends up NOT being a “false friend.” You know what they say in Italian– “traditore-traduttore” (“the translator-betrayer”) so you always have to watch out.

  104. Great job. I recognize many words my parents use to say. So funny. Thanks.

  105. You omitted “FART” which I believe is:
    scoreggia: f. (pl. -ge) (vulgar) fart. Upper class italian
    Pirito: fart in the Sicilian dialect

    You are all welcome. It is a language that should not be forgotten. I was raised on the west side of Buffalo, NY. My aunt once told me that when the Sicilian Italians moved into the west side of Buffalo [1920's] she said that the Irish moved to south Buffalo LOL, it is true.
    Vinnie

  106. This was a walk down memory lane for me! when I was a kid, I used to joke that there must be something about living closer to the Equator making you drop the endings off words. Southerners in the USA drop the “g” off anything ending in “ing”, and Southern Italians just drop the last letter off nearly anything. As others have pointed out, the letter “C” at the beginning of a word turns into a “G”. T’s and D’s seem to get interchanged often too. Makes it hard to learn proper Italian, because the voice recognition programs keep correcting me! Nice to know I am remembering it the way my grandparents said it.

  107. My mom used to call my boyfriend “scualiabeep”. Any ideas of what that could mean?????

    • My grandma used to call me that . She would say mr. Shpillabeek. That’s how it sounded when she said it you probably have the spelling right.she would say it playfully not really sure what it means

  108. Can’t begin to tell you how wonderful it is to have found this site. I’m 1st generation from Brooklyn NY, I grew up hearing these words and phrases every day. I still use them quite regularly :-)
    Wouldn’t know any other way…. As Carol Burnett sang, “thanks for the memories ”
    Ralphie….

  109. I recently ran across an Italian whose last name is “Stucatz”. Does it mean something (other than a last name). It sounds familiar- like calling someone a “stucatz” would be something bad, but I may be thinking of another word.

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