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Etymology 1[edit]

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."


goombah (plural goombahs)

  1. (US, slang, pejorative, ethnic slur) A person of Italian descent.
  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]

see gumbe


goombah (plural goombahs)

  1. Alternative form of gumbe, a Jamaican drum.