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  • In the world of organized crime, it's not just about walking the walk- you gotta know

  • how to talk the talk too.

  • As you enter your career into the modern mob, Infographics has your back with this guide

  • to Mafia slang and customs.

  • The Kiss of Death

  • What could be more infamous than the kiss of death?

  • Made famous by the 1974 film The Godfather Part II, the kiss of death became an instant

  • icon of mob culture- there's just one problem with that, nobody's even sure if it was ever

  • for real before Hollywood made it popular.

  • To the best of our knowledge, the kiss of death may stem from the kiss that Judas gave

  • to Jesus on the night of his betrayal in order to signal to the Jewish authorities that the

  • planned arrest of Jesus could take place.

  • With deeply religious roots, it's not a stretch to imagine the idea of Judas' deadly kiss

  • being turned into a mob ritual.

  • But nobody is really sure if the kiss of death was ever a thing, and if it was, it's theorized

  • that the kiss may actually have been given to the assassin, not the victim, in order

  • to mark the occasion and wish success.

  • In this form we know the kiss goes back to at least the 19th century.

  • Mafiosos may have been using the kiss of death for the way The Godfather popularized it for

  • at least a while before the film came out though.

  • In the 1960s, Joe Valachi believed that he had been marked for death by Vito Genovese

  • through the receipt of said kiss.

  • This led Valachi to bludgeon another inmate to death because he thought the inmate was

  • an assassin.

  • Whether it was used as intended before The Godfather made it popular, or if the mob appropriated

  • it from Hollywood or other stories, today the kiss of death is widely recognized as

  • a kiss which seals its victim's fate.

  • Initiation Rituals

  • It seems like every organized crime syndicate has its own initiation ritual, a solemn affair

  • meant to promote unity and even a sense of family amongst the crooks involved.

  • The mafia is no different, but their rituals tend to take on a more religious tone- which

  • is really weird when you think about it.

  • A popular mob initiation ritual in older days involved pricking the finger of the man about

  • to be sworn into the family.

  • Then their blood would be rubbed on a picture of a saint, and an oath of silence would be

  • recited by the mafioso-to-be.

  • The oath was a binding promise to never reveal the inner workings of the mafia to anybody,

  • specially not law enforcement.

  • The blood-stained photo of the saint would then be set on fire, and the oath taker would

  • vow that if he ever betrayed his new family, then his flesh would burn like the saint who's

  • picture was on fire.

  • Given the number of mafiosos who immediately turned informants when facing a decade or

  • more in prison, we can't say that the oath was particularly effective.

  • What a saint has to do with sanctioning mafia activity though we also can't answer, but

  • we're pretty sure Jesus himself would've been against the whole organized crime thing.

  • Nowadays the ritual is rarely ever used, and is seen as largely a relic of the past.

  • Perhaps it was simply dropped altogether seeing how many mafiosos have turned informants over

  • the last six decades without catching on fire.

  • That's not to say religious-style rituals don't still take place, as evidenced by a

  • Italian undercover video which filmed a secret ritual in 2014.

  • (use video from https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-europe-30104524).

  • Alright, now let's look at the mafia glossary for new slang you'll need to quickly learn

  • in your exciting new life as a prison-inmate-to-be.

  • Administration: This is the head honchos, the upper rung of the mafia corporate ladder.

  • It includes the bosses, the underbosses, and consigliere- or family advisor.

  • Associate: One step below a made man, an associate is a longtime partner in crime that can be

  • trusted and counted on.

  • Associates are typically turned to made men in time.

  • Associates can also be referred to as a 'connected guy', hinting at well-placed criminal connections

  • which could be useful to an operation.

  • The Books: a term used to describe the current membership status in a family.

  • You can't have too many chiefs and not enough indians, so if 'the books' are closed that

  • means there is currently no opening for another made man in the family.

  • If the books are open then this signifies that the family is looking to promote to made

  • man status.

  • Boss, Don, Chairman: The head honcho, the man behind the curtain in charge of an entire

  • family- or union of families.

  • This is the guy that has ultimate say in any mafia operation, and calls literally all the

  • shots.

  • He can make you a made man with a word, or a dead one with less.

  • Capo: this is a made man who leads a crew, or outfit.

  • The captain of the team if you will, though a family can have multiple crews and thus

  • multiple capos.

  • Clip: When somebody offends the mafia, gets in the way, or has turned rat, that individual

  • gets 'clipped'.

  • This means to murder someone, but other terms such as whack, hit, pop, burn, ice, and put

  • a contract out also mean the same thing.

  • This is one piece of mafia slang you don't want aimed your way.

  • Code of Silence: the unwritten code that underlies all of mafia culture.

  • This is the no-ratting clause in your membership into the mob.

  • The code is binding unto the pain of death, and dictates that under no circumstances are

  • you to reveal anything about mob operations to law enforcement- specially not in the hopes

  • of winning a reduced sentence.

  • In modern days, the code seems to be in tatters given all the mafiosos that have turned state's

  • evidence.

  • Still, talking family business outside of the family can still get you clipped for breaking

  • the code.

  • Confirm: This is the day you've been waiting for, when you're no longer a 'guy with connections'

  • or an 'associate', and are finally made a made man.

  • To confirm means to formally bring a new member into the family, and is usually accompanied

  • by an elaborate ritual.

  • Cosa Nostra: The original name for the mob, this meansour thingin Italian.

  • Crew: one step under a capo, the crew, or soldiers, are the associates or made men under

  • a capo's command.

  • Crews can be shuffled around or improvised for certain jobs, but much like military operations

  • crews that work well together often stay together.

  • Sometimes crews can even be hired out or traded to other organized crime groups, most likely

  • because of a specialized set of skills that the crew may have such as being master safe-crackers

  • or in the modern world, computer whizzes.

  • Cugine: This is the lowest ladder on the rank, and is the term for a very young soldier who's

  • starting on his long journey to get made.

  • Eat Alone: A term used to describe someone who is overly greedy, or who likes to keep

  • to themselves.

  • A non-generous boss can be described as eating alone as he refuses to share the spoils.

  • Such a boss likely won't last long.

  • Family: An organized crime clan, such as the Genoveses, Gottis, or Sopranos.

  • While many members of a family may actually be family, many more are made men pulled from

  • outside of any actual bloodline.

  • Once a member of a family though you're expected to behave as if the family is an actual blood

  • and flesh family, often even more important than your real family.

  • Forget About It: a piece of slang with numerous different contexts depending on how and where

  • it's used.

  • The term can be used in agreement, such as saying, “This ice cream is incredible!

  • Forget about it!”, or can be used in disagreement, such asThis ice cream is incredible?

  • Forget about it!”.

  • It can also however be used as an exclamation of excitement when something is very good

  • or incredible, such as, “Gigli, starring Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck is an incredible

  • film!

  • Forget about it!”.

  • However, it can also be used to tell someone to go to hell, such as, “You want me to

  • watch Gigli, starring Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck, with you?

  • Forget about it!”.

  • Garbage Business: a euphemism for organized crime.

  • When you're part of the mob, it's probably best to not publicly disclose that information.

  • Thus you might refer to mob activities as 'garbage business' while in public.

  • Goomah: A mafia mistress.

  • A woman who is not a family member's wife, but still has emotional or sexual relations

  • with that member.

  • This used to be greatly looked down upon in the early days of the mob, even seen as a

  • crime against the family's honor, but in modern times is largely ignored.

  • Heavy: to be armed, or an individual that is well armed or known for great violence.

  • If you're about to engage in a war for example you may discuss sending out teams of 'heavies'

  • to attack your enemies.

  • Hit: to murder, or whack someone.

  • A hit will often be carried out by one or more heavies.

  • Juice: the interest paid to a loanshark for the actual loan itself.

  • These loans tend to be extremely high interest, designed to give an extraordinary return to

  • the lender.

  • This is why it's common knowledge that you never want to get into debt with the mob.

  • Lam: To go into hiding, either on the run from authorities or after a big, high profile

  • operation.

  • Made Man: a full-blown member of the family.

  • Made men used to be known as untouchables, because any harm befalling them would incur

  • the wrath of the entire family.

  • Today, that's largely not the case anymore.

  • However, being a made man does come with a great deal of special privileges and respect,

  • including the chance to move into really lucrative cuts of the business.

  • Mock Execution: sometimes you just need to put the fear of death into someone, and not

  • outright kill them.

  • Mock execution means to whip someone into shape by frightening them, and can be useful

  • to correct bad behavior or make a very strong point without resorting to outright murder.

  • The next step up for a repeat offender is indubitably going to be a real execution.

  • Message Job: This is the act of performing a ritualized execution of sorts.

  • Typically this means shooting a victim in such a way that it delivers a recognizable

  • message to that victim's own crew or family, such as shooting someone through the eye or

  • mouth.

  • Today this can be any way of killing someone that sends a very clear, specific message.

  • Mobbed Up: to be connected to the mob in some respect, not necessarily just being a made

  • man.

  • Being family to a made man or having a good friend with mafia connections can mean being

  • mobbed up.

  • Points: Your share of any income or result of a job.

  • The more senior you are, the more points you get, with each point being a single percentage

  • point of the total take.

  • For instance, if you have 16 points, that means your cut at the end of a job or income

  • from any ongoing revenues is 16%.

  • Hollywood screenwriters often work in a similar fashion, often- but not always- with less

  • bloodshed involved.

  • Spring Cleaning: the act of cleaning up a crime scene or getting rid of evidence.

  • This can refer to everything from hiding or disposing of a body, to covering up one's

  • tracks in a ransomware cyber attack.

  • Paying Tribute: giving up a part of your income to the boss.

  • As don, every operation any mafioso in the family undertakes has to pay tribute, and

  • any unsanctioned 'off the books' business is very much frowned upon.

  • Sometimes, it can even mean death.

  • The don always gets his cut, period.

  • Shakedown: a term with two meanings, shakedown can either refer to the act of extorting or

  • blackmailing a victim, or of instilling fear in order to make a victim more compliant.

  • You may shakedown a local store keeper for protection money, or you might shakedown some

  • junior politician looking to make a name for himself by going after your family.

  • Shylock Business: this is mafia activity dedicated to loansharking, one of its most profitable

  • ventures.

  • Through the Mouth: A killing executed in such a way as to indicate an individual was a rat-

  • typically this means being shot through the mouth.

  • Now click one of these videos before we break your fingers- watch What Does The Mafia Even

  • Do Anymore, or click this other video.

  • Mama mia pasta rigatoni!

In the world of organized crime, it's not just about walking the walk- you gotta know

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What Happens When Mafia Gives You the Kiss of Death

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    Summer posted on 2021/09/23
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