Definition of goombah in English:



North American
  • An associate or accomplice, especially a senior member of a criminal gang.

    • ‘To make a long story short, pretty soon the Ramsey County Sheriff changed the locks on my apartment and Vito's goombahs cut off two fingers on my left hand.’
    • ‘It might be a repeat, but James Gandolfini and the rest of the goombahs are worth watching again.’
    • ‘Calderone recalls being afraid the first time he had his eyebrows waxed seven years ago (though he points out that all the goombahs get their brows done now), and Cilione admits to similar fears.’
    • ‘Red-faced and screaming, he threatened, ‘If I ever hear you've told your goombahs back in New Jersey that you did beat Olsen, I'll personally fly to Jersey and rip your tongue out of your head.’’
    • ‘Even murderous goons and heartless goombahs were stirred to noble deeds.’
    • ‘It ‘wants to be’ a companion piece to the gritty urban violence of Martin Scorsese's Mean Streets and GoodFellas, telling its tale of goombahs who grow up and into a life of crime via voice-overs, rock music, and montages.’
    • ‘A more discerning palate, however, knows the restaurants on Federal Hill do Italian cuisine every bit as well as goombahs in Boston, St. Louis, New York and San Francisco.’
    • ‘Stadiums full of pot-bellied goombahs fuelled up on overpriced beer and screaming epithets at people from another city make me feel, well, foreign.’
    • ‘The goombahs from whom Dave stole the drugs are on his trail, however, and before long Dave's dealing days are over, permanently.’


1960s: probably a dialect alteration of Italian compare ‘godfather, friend, accomplice’.