'The Sopranos' at 20: Our favorite Italian-American catchphrases from HBO's classic

Liz Johnson
'The Sopranos' at 20: Our favorite Italian-American catchphrases from HBO's classic

You may be speaking Soprano — and not even know it.

“The Sopranos” — the drama about families of mobsters in suburban Jersey —  premiered on HBO 20 years ago this week.

And with it, came new entries into the American lexicon.

Like “whadayagunnado?” (What are you going to do?) And “fuggedaboudid.” (Forget about it!)

Before the show, these — and a few of our other favorite Italian-American food slang words, which we remind you of below — were familiar to folks in the New York area,  but not much anywhere else.

The rest of the country — and the world — may have heard them in mobster movies, but they weren't broadcast into their homes every Sunday night for six seasons.

After its launch, I had friends as far away as Texas and California speaking like Tony.

Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor James Gandolfini, a Westwood native raised in Park Ridge, was best known for his role as Tony Soprano in HBO’s The Sopranos. The Rutgers graduate was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame in 2014.

Here are a few things they were saying, and what they really mean:

Goomah — Mistress or girlfriend. It comes from the Italian comare, which means godmother or second mother. In other words, someone who takes care of you.

Goomba — Compatriot or fellow comrade. It’s a take on compaesano.

Marone. Damn it. For Madonna (the religious one, not the musical one).

Gabagool. For capocollo, also known as coppa. It’s a spicy, dry-cured salami.

Manigot. For manicotti, which are large ridged pasta tubes that are stuffed, usually with ricotta. The finished dish is also called manicotti.

Mutzadell or just mutz. Mozzarella. A fresh, cow’s milk cheese.

Pasta fazool. Pasta y fagioli. Pasta and bean soup.

Prujoot. Proscuitto. A dry-cured ham.

Regoat. Ricotta. A young, farmers-style whey cheese, made from what’s leftover after producing other cheese.

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This article originally appeared on North Jersey Record: 'The Sopranos' at 20: Our favorite Italian-American catchphrases from HBO's classic