Gun moll

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A gun moll (aka gangster moll) is the female companion of a male professional criminal. In some contexts, "gun moll" more specifically suggests that the woman handles a firearm.

When the term came into usage in the first decade of the 20th century,[1] "gun" was not derived from the English synonym for "firearm", but from the Yiddish word meaning "thief," variously transliterated into English as ganefthe, gonif, goniff, or ganof,[2] itself derived from Hebrew "Ganav" (גנב). However, this distinction gradually disappeared, especially when such women became associated with gangsters noted for their frequent use of guns.

"Moll" derives from "Molly", used as a euphemism for "whore" or "prostitute" and attested at least since 17th century England.

In the U.S., the term has mostly been applied to a woman associating with an American gangster of the 1920s and 1930s, and in most cases remarkable only because of his notoriety. Extended use of the term without awareness of the Yiddish root, however, has invited interpretations of "gun" as suggesting more than simply criminal associations. Bonnie Parker and Blanche Barrow were gun molls in this stronger sense, and especially notable examples in general, because of their accompanying the rest of the Barrow Gang to the planned locations of violent crimes, and, in Parker's case, apparently directly assisting at least to the extent of loading guns in the midst of shootouts.

Prominent gun molls[edit]

Helen Julia Godman - Passport photo taken in 1919

Prominent, true-life gun molls (and the men they were associated with) include:

Fictional gun molls[edit]

Related terms[edit]

  • Italian and Italian American gangsters and mafiosi often refer to their mistress as a comare (Italian for "godmother"[citation needed]), often Americanized to goomah, goomar, or gomatta.
  • Moll — common term for whore or prostitute, and also the nickname of a 17th-century criminal Moll Cutpurse.
  • ''Cocota''- Or ''Cocotinha'', the Brazilian term for a promiscuous, or often criminal-related, girl or woman.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gun moll - Definitions from
  2. ^ ganef - Definitions from
  3. ^ Long Beach Independent - Long Beach, California - Wednesday, August 3, 1949 - P. 23
  4. ^ Long Beach Independent - Long Beach, California - Thursday, July 21, 1949 - P. 32
  5. ^ "California, Death Index, 1940-1997," index, FamilySearch (, Accessed 24 Aug 2013, Alfred Gerardo Sica, 1987.
  6. ^ Long Beach Press-Telegram - Long Beach, California - Friday, November 2, 1956 - P. 23 (This article points out that DaLonne had actually lived with Fred Sica for a number of years.)
  7. ^ Dalonne Jackson, Internet Movie Database
  8. ^ Van Cise, Philip S. Fighting the Underworld. (Cambridge, Mass.: The Riverside Press, 1936) OCLC 435739
  9. ^ "Bollywood recounts gangster Abu Salems moll, Monica Bedi". India Today 28112005. 2005-11-28. Retrieved 2017-05-13. 
  10. ^ Canby, Vincent (June 15, 1990). "Dick Tracy (1990) Review/FIlm; A Cartoon Square Comes to Life In 'Dick Tracy'". The New York Times. 

External links[edit]