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Etymology 1[edit]

Probably originates from the Neapolitan cumpà (buddy, pal, akin to Italian compare, Sicilian cumpari, Spanish compadre, from Latin compater, literally godfather), a word 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 Southern Italian dialects (especially Neapolitan) are interpreted as voiced stops, yielding goombah. Compare Southern American Spanish cumpa.

Alternative forms[edit]

English Wikipedia has an article on:



goombah (plural goombahs)

  1. (US, slang, derogatory, ethnic slur) A person of Italian descent.
    Synonyms: dago, Eyetie, greaseball, Guido, guinea, wog, wop
  2. (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.

Etymology 2[edit]


goombah (plural goombahs)

  1. Alternative form of gumbe, a Jamaican drum.