From Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



Etymology 1[edit]

Origin unknown; a number of possibilities have been suggested:[1]



  1. (US, chiefly military, especially during the Vietnam War era, slang) Fucked up; broken, damaged beyond repair.
    Synonyms: FUBAR; see also Thesaurus:broken
    • 1982, Marc Olden, chapter 7, in Giri, New York, N.Y.: Arbor House, →ISBN; republished [New York, N.Y.]: MysteriousPress.com/Open Road Integrated Media, 2012, →ISBN:
      The two of them were getting bombed on bami-bam, beer, and joints laced with opium. That made answers to questions a long time in coming. "Hey, man, what the fuck can I tell you," said Robbie finally. "All fugazi over here. All fucked up. Number ten. The worst. Don't matter what goes down in this asshole country, know what I mean? Hey, papa-san, don't believe everything you hear, okay?"
    • 1986, Mark Baker, Nam: The Vietnam War in the Words of the Men and Women Who Fought, New York, N.Y.: Berkley Books, →ISBN, page 32:
      We didn't know anything was fugazi* until we got to a certain place in the South China Sea. A loudspeaker came over the air, "This is your captain speaking. Be advised that your destination is Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam."
    • 2008, Audrey Shafer, The Mailbox, New York, N.Y.: Random House, →ISBN, page 67:
      First time I met her. we were stuck on recon. far from the AO. deep in Indian country. the ops completely fugazi. the horn dead. and my BTO sick as skunkrot. She comes creeping by our ditch.

See also[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Uncertain; said to be of Mafia origin, from the Fugazy Continental limousine company in New York City which was owned by William “Bill” Fugazy, due to its cheesy “look like a rich guy” advertisements of the 1970s and 1980s, or its alleged poor business practices,[1] possibly influenced by Italian fu cazzo (it was shit). The word was popularized by the film Donnie Brasco (1997), based on the book Donnie Brasco: My Undercover Life in the Mafia (1987) by American former FBI agent Joseph D. Pistone (born 1939) who used the name “Donnie Brasco” as an undercover alias.



  1. (US, slang) Fake. [from c. 1970s–1980s]
Alternative forms[edit]


fugazi (plural fugazis)

  1. (US, slang) A person or thing that is fake; a fake, a fraud.
    • 1987, Joseph D[ominick] Pistone, with Richard Woolley, Donnie Brasco: My Undercover Life in the Mafia (A Signet Book), New York, N.Y.: New American Library, →ISBN; republished as Donnie Brasco[3], New York, N.Y.: New American Library, 2014, →ISBN:
      I took the diamond and looked it over. "I wouldn't get too excited about it," I said, "because this is fake, a fugazy." [...] "It's a fugazy," I said. "Take it home for your kid to play with."
    • 1997 February 24, Paul Attanasio, Donnie Brasco:
      DONNIE BRASCO [Johnny Depp]: Well, you should give it [a diamond] to someone who don't know any better, because that's a fugazi. / LEFTY [Al Pacino]: That's a fugazi? How do you know it's a fugazi? You haven't looked at it for two seconds.
    • 2003, Jeff Kaye, chapter 7, in Two Faces Have I, [Bloomington, Ind.]: Xlibris, →ISBN, page 55:
      Stoner examined the Rolex after Mike handed it to him. He said, "Are you sure this is the real thing Mike? Most of the Rolex's out on the street are fugazy's." He used the street term for phony jewelry, but Mike knew exactly what he meant. "Hey Jack, you're gonna offend me if you talk like that. This ain't no fugazy. I've been dealing hot jewels long enough to know what I'm looking at.["]
    • 2004, Vincent E. Henry, “‘Becoming a Cop’: Basic Social and Psychological Processes”, in Death Work: Police, Trauma, and the Psychology of Survival, Oxford, Oxfordshire, New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press, →ISBN, page 97:
      The primacy of this immortality system to the officer's overall sense of self can be glimpsed in the fact that retired officers typically acquire a "dupe" or "fugazy"—a full-sized replica of the shield they surrendered. Often partners or workmates will present these "dupes" at a retirement party, symbolizing the recipient's continued connection to policing and the police identity.
    • 2006, Tony Lip [i.e., Frank Anthony Vallelonga Sr.], Steven Prigge, Shut Up and Eat!: Mangia with Family Recipes and Stories from Your Favorite Italian-American Stars, New York, N.Y.: Berkley Books, →ISBN:
      Hey, do not accept any fugazis. Get the real thing! The genuine Pastore's Pasta can only be made with the ingredients that I've personally listed.
    • 2013 December 17, Terence Winter, The Wolf of Wall Street:
      MARK HANNA [Matthew McConaughey]: No. Number one rule of Wall Street. Nobody – I don't care if you're Warren Buffet or if you're Jimmy Buffet – nobody knows if a stock is gonna go up, down, sideways or in fucking circles, least of all stockbrokers, right? / JORDAN BELFORT [Leonardo DiCaprio]: Mm-hmm. / MARK HANNA: It's all a fugazi [fuˈɡɑzi]. Do you know what fugazi is? / JORDAN BELFORT: Fugazi [fuˈɡeɪzi], it's a fake … / MARK HANNA: Yeah, fugazi [fuˈɡeɪzi], fugazi [fuˈɡɑzi]. It's a wahzi, it's a woozy. It's … fairy dust. It doesn't exist, it's never landed, it is no matter, it's not on the elemental chart. It's not fucking real.
    • 2011, Dan Ferullo, chapter 7, in Monster Hill, [Morrisville, N.C.]: [Lulu.com], →ISBN, page 298:
      Nordstrom sized up O'Malley's expression, beginning to soften from surly to inquisitive. "We got some info we thought you might be interested in." / "Ya? So what is it? One of those fugazis from the North End die from a bleeding hemorrhoid 'n Gargiulo wants me to be a pallbearer?"
    • 2012, Wallace Stroby, chapter 18, in Kings of Midnight: A Mystery, New York, N.Y.: Minotaur Books, →ISBN:
      Benny was taking individual bills from his banded packs, holding them up. / "What are you looking for?" she said. / "Fugazies. Counterfeit. I wouldn't put it past Joey, his last joke on everybody."
    • 2019, David Gordon, chapter 11, in The Hard Stuff, New York, N.Y.: Mysterious Press, →ISBN; republished London: Head of Zeus, 2019, →ISBN:
      "What about fugazis?" Gio asked. "Get some glass." / "They're not fools," Maria said. "Carlo said they will have an expert to check." / Alonzo whistled. "Four mil? Sorry folks. Not even the flyest gangsters got that much ice on hand."
    • 2022 December 2, Future et al. (lyrics and music), “Superhero (Heroes & Villains)”, in Heroes & Villains, performed by Future, Chris Brown, and Metro Boomin:
      Ain't no facadin', ain't no fugazi
Alternative forms[edit]


  1. 1.0 1.1 “Fugazy Redux: Looking for the Real Fake”, in The Word Detective[1], 2008 February 12, archived from the original on 8 July 2017.

Further reading[edit]