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Goombah (also spelled as Goomba, Goombah, Gumba, Gumbah) is a slang term referring to people of Italian descent, mainly in the US.


Goombah and similar forms probably derived as an alteration of compa' , the apocoped, oxytone form of compare found in the Southern Italian dialects. Compare originally defined (and it still does in Italy) both the godfather and the godson of a Catholic Baptism; hence "benefactor, friend". This ultimately derives from medieval Latin compater.[1]

Gumba is a slang noun for a companion or associate, especially an older friend who acts as a patron, protector, or adviser. When used by non-Italians, goomba is often derogatory in nature, implying a stereotypical Italian-American male or Mafioso.[2]

Goomba, Goombah, Gumba, Gumbah may also refer to:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Giacalone, David (April 1, 2006). "goomba goombah gumba gumbah". f/k/a. 
  2. ^ a b "The Maven's Word of the Day: goombah". Words@Random. Random House, Inc. April 4, 1997. Archived from the original on April 18, 2001.