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Michael San Filippo

Yo, Chooch!

By August 18, 2004

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If you grew up in an Italian American neighborhhood on the East coast of the U.S, you've probably called someone, or worse, been called, a chooch. And now for all those jackasses who never amounted to much, there's Chooch: The Movie.

The term is derived from the Italian ciuccio and means dummy, idiot, or moron. The given spelling reflects, more than likely, an Italian-American/Brooklynese-East Coast derivation , which is quite common. So if you want to see a film that the New York Times described as Take Gleason, Then Add A Little Italy then Chooch: The Movie might be the end-of-summer flick for you.


January 4, 2008 at 8:21 pm
(1) Susanne says:

LOL Oh my GOD! I have been using this as a term of endearment my entire life!! Now.. either I have tons of apologies to make… or I stay silent and continue calling my loved ones, idiots! And yes, I am 100% Sicilian American and live in NY.. and NO, no one has ever corrected me about this!!

February 28, 2008 at 2:09 am
(2) indie says:

right on, sista~ i call people chooches all the time… and i’ll never apologize! :) who is this michael guy anyhow? ;) both folks from naples! ~indie

March 1, 2008 at 8:19 am
(3) jesse says:

Ha. I’ve Been Calling my Daughter Chooch… well for 3.5 months… shes three and a half months old… not sure I can drop the nickname… she’s brilliant… so….maybe it’ll be my ironic term of endearment … my way of sarcastically referring to her.
Thanks for the info!!

March 22, 2008 at 2:41 pm
(4) About.com Italian Language SiteGuide says:

“this michael guy” just happens to be the founder, editor, and content manager for the site. See my bio here: http://italian.about.com/mbiopage.htm

Un salutone,

April 3, 2008 at 11:09 pm
(5) Chooch says:

I’ve been “Chooch” all of my life. Its not on my birth certificate, but there are relatives in my life that wouldn’t know that.

My nickname didn’t come from Italian, however, but from the Cherokee language. As I was growing up I always thought that it meant “blue eyes”. As a teenager I came across a Cherokee/English dictionary and found that it simply means “boy”.

Not as romantic.. but not bad either — until that same year I started dating an Italian girl and when she introduced me to her parents as “Chooch” they gasped.

Thus, I learned that it can mean many different things to different people. Apparently it is also not so flattering a term in Spanish.

Oh well, I’ve always been Chooch, and that is what I shall remain. And I’m not alone — there are thousands of Choochs on the Internet. Every time some new service opens up the name is usually already taken!

Oh, and the movie is actually pretty funny. Silly, but funny :)


June 2, 2008 at 7:16 pm
(6) Pilar Alameda says:

I just LOVE saying the word, CHOOCH

July 5, 2008 at 5:56 pm
(7) father of my dogs says:

From my own personal experience I can
unequivocally say that this word has caused me an uncaluable amount of pain. The main question is was it used as a term of endearment, or as a put-down. I believe that the evidence will show that in my case the term was used as a put-down.
…..and now, the defendent may rise.
….. and we shall see who the “chooch” is.

October 24, 2008 at 8:20 am
(8) Warren says:

I have been using chooch for years as well. I have never meant anything bad as it was used a term of endearment.

November 19, 2008 at 12:14 pm
(9) Danielle says:

LOLOL – my mom used to call us this when we were being fat and lazy!!

December 16, 2008 at 1:55 pm
(10) Princess Ashley says:

Ha Ha I always thought it ment lazy… lol my mom always called us that when we wouldnt do things for her… Thats funny ♥ ya ma dukes

February 5, 2009 at 7:39 pm
(11) Kayla says:

OMG my dad loves the word chooch! We call my dog that, now we really know what the actual definition is! We have some apoligies to make lol.

March 13, 2009 at 2:07 am
(12) John says:

My Grandfather was from Scala Coeli Italy and in my late teens he started calling me Chooch! When he was teaching me how to speak in Italian, I already had an idea of what it meant but I asked him anyway! I was not surprised with the answer. Now that he has passed away,I was his chooch! My neice and nephew still call me chooch and will always be chooch!

March 22, 2009 at 4:14 pm
(13) Gene B says:

“Chooch” has always meant “donkey” or “jackass” to me, even if applied to a human — never used as term of endearment. I think it must be derived from the Italian word for jackass: “Ciuco.”

October 27, 2009 at 1:42 pm
(14) Hayes says:

I was called Chooch in college because of my stubborness and it stuck with me throughout the years. I love it and hopefully it doesn’t offend anyone, because it certainly doesn’t offend me.

December 17, 2009 at 8:44 pm
(15) michael t, alogna says:

My Sicilian born dad always said, ” “U ( “oo” as in “who”)-chooch”.
Ok, here’s a wierd question for you which I need for a difference with a more learned cuzzin: what are the respective SICILIAN woreds for ” butchery” and “slaughter”. Odd, I know, but we are just two mild-mannered retired guys in Jamaica Plain and Waltham, Mass. THANKS, Michael Alogna.

May 31, 2010 at 7:11 pm
(16) templeq says:

I always was told it meant, “Stupid Ass”. My dad named our cat “Chooch”.. It fit…

August 5, 2010 at 4:52 pm
(17) Mary says:

I have been affectionately called Chooch since I was a child… I am 54 now.

I graduated from college with the highest GPA in my major.

The nickname does not determine who I am, I do.

I do not think that the term is always malicious. It depends on how it is used.

October 7, 2010 at 1:42 pm
(18) Larry B says:

I heard the term used at my first place of professional employment in the early 1970s. This North Jersey office had a number of fellows of Italian heritage who loved badinage and joking around. It was never defined, but clearly a term of derision. It seemed to be short for a longer word which I heard used similarly but less often and can only render phonetically as “choochrillone”. Chooch as in mooch, Ril as in shrill, Lone as in clone. Slight accent on first syllable.

April 10, 2011 at 3:44 pm
(19) JMC says:

I grew up in south philly and the way chooch is used here is as a term of endearment, usually a bigger kid or guy, not necessarily fat but more stocky would be called a big chooch, and then a friend or family member(male) would just be called chooch, “What’s up chooch, how you been?”

April 28, 2011 at 11:14 pm
(20) chooch says:

to be honest, i love chooch. it is amazing. I’ve been called a chooch for most of my life. Its my nickname in school and i couldnt ask for a better nickname.

September 7, 2011 at 10:34 am
(21) I'm a chooch says:

My family and friends have called each other chooches for a very long time, we don’t mean it in disrespect at all, it’s just an italian thing!

September 8, 2011 at 7:16 am
(22) Mike Fook says:

My Italian friend in high school started filling us in on the Italian slang his grandfather was teaching him… and everybody knew the word chooch in our graduating class, among others! Nice post, I just saw an email address “achooch@___.com” so I looked it up because I wanted to make sure it really meant what I thought it did. Nice post. Cheers.

November 8, 2011 at 7:59 am
(23) lainie says:

I grew up with Sicilian friends & when they got married & had kids, they called the soother, or dummy the babies suck on a “chooch”.
Nobody in our group ever questioned the term. But now I am just speculating that it was used in the same way as manga cakes use the word “dummy” for a soother.

March 20, 2012 at 1:59 pm
(24) Gene says:

I had a “buddy” that use to call me chooch. Wait till I see
that guy next time. He always was a sarcastic jerk.

March 29, 2012 at 6:36 pm
(25) Steve ott says:

Used the term since i was a kid, hey you big chooch ! Lol now our black lab is named chooch. Calling him in the yard is funny. Come on chooch !

April 22, 2012 at 9:07 pm
(26) andy chooch says:

i am an italian american, and i have been using this word since i was about 6 yrs old.. I have always told people it means “stupid” or “jackass”.. I still use it today and make NO apologies!!
I have gotten almost every person, who i have been friends with over the years, hooked on calling each other “chooch”.. i like it so much that its part of my email address as well as my screen names on many sites! “im a chooch through and through, but guess what buddy…SO ARE YOU!”
F%*&in’ Chooch!

May 11, 2012 at 1:32 pm
(27) choocharoni says:

well in southern italy it means like a donkey (dilect) barese

May 23, 2012 at 3:58 pm
(28) Chi says:

My family is from Italy and we live in South Philly. I grew up hearing the word Chooch; From a light term of endearment to a cut down. “Look at this chooch” that’s when some idiot don’t know how to parallel park. or when referring to someone who is helping you around your shop”"watch what you’re doing you’re like a big chooch” or “hey chooch” calling out to someone you know. Yes, chooch is a word I am very familiar with and know its meaning well.

July 15, 2012 at 4:54 pm
(29) Choochy1 says:

I am 54 Y/O and grew up in S. Jersey. My parents are both of Italian descent, and have used the term “chooch” all of my life. My brothers and I were called Chooches whenever we let someone take advantage of our generous nature.So we heard” What are you, a chooch?”, to let us know that someone made us look like idiots. Now my family and friends use “chooch” as a term of self-depricating endearment . Gotta love all you chooches out there……..

August 29, 2012 at 2:55 pm
(30) Dom The Mover says:

Its the first word I said as an Infant, so my mom says

September 1, 2012 at 5:07 am
(31) Mikey D says:

I’ve called my son Chooch since he was a baby, thinking it meant someone who ate a lot. Knowing now that one slang meaning is for a ‘hard head or stubbornness,’ it still fits, so it stays! both my parents are of Italian decent and if they thought it was that bad of me to call my son that, I would’ve been back handed the first time I called him that!

June 24, 2013 at 12:47 pm
(32) em says:

It’s not just jackass – it also refers to mule or donkey. I.e. someone working like a “chooch” is working very hard. My dad (born in Naples) has said more than once that his mother had to work like a chooch her whole life – and he would NEVER EVER call her a jackass.

July 1, 2013 at 8:17 pm
(33) Pamela says:

My South Philly dad called everybody on the road a Chooch when he was driving *LOL* We learned it was a derogatory term, although it’s entirely reasonable that some families morphed the term into a pet name or someone who works hard for what they had.

On the other hand, for endearment, Dad would call me “Pamma-looch” and my sister Mary was “Madda-yooch”. I have no idea if this was something Dad made up, or if he was creating some diminutive based on Italy Italian.

January 27, 2014 at 8:26 pm
(34) Julie Marie says:

My mother and God mother called me Choochi since the day I was born. Our family is from the old Roseland neighborhood on the south side of Chicago. Originally we come from Calabria Italy. It has always been a name of love. When all the kids would come running in the kitchen while she was cooking, my grandmother would swoosh my mother and her 13 brothers and sisters out calling them Choochis.

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