-a racially offensive term for a black person (from Italian melanzana, which is an eggplant.)NOTE: there are hundreds of phonetic spellings out there; however, this is the ONLY correct Italian spelling of this word.
He was accused of being a racist when he called the black man a mulignan at the bus stop.
n. Derogatory slang term for a black person. A Sicilian word, derived from the Italian ''melanzane'' (English: eggplant). Common among Italian-Americans, particularly of Sicilian origin, as a slur for African-Americans.
Popularized in American culture by television drama series ''The Sopranos''.
''The Sopranos'' (02.08)
Anthony Bevilaqua: He's my homey.
Richie Aprile: Your what?
Anthony Bevilaqua: He lives up near me.
Richie Aprile: Well, why didn't you say that? If you want to speak like a fucking mulignan, we'll send you to slip and fall school.
What they call black people on the Sopranos.
"Meadow's still goin' out wit dat mulignan." -Tony Soprano
This is the term for "African Americans" used by most Italian-American males, myself included. I grew up hearing my father and grandfather using it all of the time, so it's only natural.
Newark used to be a nice place, but now there are too many mulignans.
The origin of the AE word "mulignan" is not directly linked to the italian word "melanzana" (eggplant).
"Melanzana" is the standard italian word for "eggplant" but every region and even every town in the same region has its own dialect form(s).
I wanted to go further and made a little research and here is what I found.
"Melanzana" comes from the low-latin "melangolus" or"merongolus" from the arab "bâdindgiân". It is possible to find the same name in old french "mélangène" even if the current french word for "eggplant" is "aubergine".
As you can see from these examples, all the words are similar. We can assume that the AE word "mulignan"
was imported to the US by italian immigrants coming from a southern region but nothing tells us if it was Sicily or Napoli.
I hope this helped.
According to the different regions, one can find these forms of the italian word "melanzana":
"mulingiana", "milinciana" Sicilia
It is definitely not a Sicilian word because my Sicilian relatives never heard of it. Since they say my Italian is a Neapolitan dialect - even though my ancestors were from Sicily- I would say it is probably a Neapolitan expression.
However, it must not be strictly a racial slur, although I learned it as such.
The comic song, Pepino the Mouse, by Lou Monte, uses this word to describe Pepino. I doubt if Monte would have used it if it were only a racial slur. There must be some alternative meaning.
Lou Monte sang in the Calabrian, Neapolitian and Sicilian dialects.
"Dem mulignans are ruining everything."
(n) (1) a variation of the Italian word for eggplant. (2) a person of direct African descent (a black person). Actually, this term has nothing to do with slavery, because Italians rarely if ever had black slaves, and most Italians were in favor of giving rights to blacks while the whites up in Northern Europe and America were still using blacks for labor and slave trades. The real origin of this slang word is unknown, but it is not as popular among Italians as the movies and white people suggest. Most people now that use the word "mooley" are white, not Italian.
Some Angry Guy: Yo, what's up with all these mulignans in my hood? Get outta here, ya mooley.
Some Guy With Sense: What the hell are you talking about? Stop saying "mooley", you asshole. You're not even Italian, you're white. And even if you were Italian, it be even more ignorant to be rascist towards blacks, considering Italians aren't white and are closely related to blacks. Italians and blacks should be brothers.