Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A companion or associate, especially an older friend who acts as a patron, protector, or adviser.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Alternative form of gumbe, a Jamaican drum.
  • noun US, slang, pejorative A person of Italian descent.
  • noun US, slang A companion, pal, close friend, or associate, used especially among Italian-American men. It sometimes has the connotation of an older friend who acts as a patron, protector or adviser.

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Probably alteration of Italian compare, godfather, from Medieval Latin compater; see compadre.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

see gumbe

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Probably originates from the Neapolitan cumpà, (Italian compare and the Sicilian cognate, cumpari, akin to Spanish compadre), and literally means "godfather," but used to denote "friend." Often used to refer to 'family friends' or friends close enough to be considered an 'aunt' or 'uncle', though not related by blood. To an English-speaking ear, the unaspirated stops of the Southern Italian dialect (especially Neapolitan) are interpreted as voiced stops, yielding "goombah."

Examples

Comments

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  • 1) a close friend or associate, especially among Italian-American men

    2) mafioso; broadly: gangster

    3) a macho Italian-American man

    May 12, 2008