Gabagool – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Are you heading into the city? Do you feel like stopping off at one of NYC’s legendary delis? While you’re there, try something different and buy a sandwich with Gabagool, you won’t regret it.

This post unpacks the meaning and origin of the word “Gabagool,” and we’ll look at ways to use it in conversation.

Gabagool Meaning

Did you ever watch the show “The Sopranos?” This 90s TV series was incredibly popular, starring the late James Gandolfini as “Tony Soprano,” an American-Italian mob boss.

If you watched The Sopranos, you probably understand the meaning of the word, but the younger generation born after 2000 might not have ever watched the show or heard the use of Gabagool in language.

You’ll hear the word “Gabagool” throughout the show, but what are they referring to? It’s easy to confuse the word’s meaning, but it actually refers to a type of cold cut you buy at the deli, and it’s popular on sandwiches.

Gabagool is an Italian and Sardinian ham, and it’s one of the more traditional cold cuts you’ll find at Italian delis. Gabagool is popular with Italian Americans, but it’s not the original word used to describe the ham.

Gabagool Example Usage

“Hey, Tony, if you’re heading to the deli, pick me up some Gabagool for my sandwiches tomorrow.”

“This Gabagool is fantastic; this butcher knew what he was doing when he made these cold cuts.”

“Get me a sandwich with some Gabagool, My Ma would make it for me as a kid, and I’m feeling nostalgic.”

“We had a big spread for the wake; there was everything from fine wines to the most delicious Gabagool.”

“Where can I find some Gabagool? The deli’s around here don’t stock it. It looks like I’ll have to get it from the old neighborhood when I’m there next.”

“This Gabagool reminds me of the old country.”

Gabagool Origin

The English language adopts several words from other languages around the world. America is a melting pot of culture. During the building of the nation, many Italian and Irish immigrants landed on the east coast, settling into neighborhoods around New York and New Jersey.

The Italians are a staunchly proud nation, and they brought much of their culture with them to America. One of the biggest contributions of Italians to American society is the food they brought over with them.

“Gabagool” is a rendition of an Italian word, modified from the original “Capocollo.” The immigrants arriving in the US to find the land of opportunity would change the word to Gabagool, which stuck with local communities.

Many people outside of the Italian community have no idea what Gabagool is, and it sounds like gibberish to them. However, if you live in NYC or NJ, you probably hear the word a lot, especially in delis and sandwich shops.

Phrases Similar to Gabagool

  • Cold cuts.
  • Sandwich meat.

Phrases Opposite to Gabagool

  • Capocollo

What is the Correct Saying?

  • Gabagool.
  • Gabagools.

Ways People May Say Gabagool Incorrectly

It’s best to use “Gabagool” when you’re in the presence of people that know what you’re talking about. If the other party in the conversation doesn’t know the origin or meaning of the word, they might think you’re talking nonsense. Worse, they could assume you are insulting them, starting an argument or fight if they take offense.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Gabagool

You can use the word “Gabagool” when you’re around people that understand what you’re talking about. The Italian-American community will know what you’re saying, but many other cultures won’t have the slightest clue what you’re referring to or what you mean. Also, Gabagool is not suitable to describe the same cold cut you receive in Italy.

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