This phrase is used in The Sopranos by Phil Leotardo:

Listen to me. They make anybody and everybody over there. And the way that they do it, it's all f***ed up. Guys don't get their finger pricked. There's no sword and gun on the table...

New contributor
user3108268 is a new contributor to this site. Take care in asking for clarification, commenting, and answering. Check out our Code of Conduct.
  • 1
    At a guess the speaker is complaining that the mob 'over there' doesn't have any ceremonal induction when a mobster is made a "man of honor" (mafioso). – KillingTime Aug 2 at 12:45
  • 2
    It took me a while to understand make here (originally I thought it might be "detect", as in identifying "spies" from rival gangs). But I'm sure in the context of the actual movie / TV episode it would have been obvious it's something like make [some up-and-coming young thug] a member of the local street gang. But I'm guessing that context should also make it obvious that "sword & gun" means "ritual paraphernalia". – FumbleFingers Aug 2 at 13:15
  • 3
    In Italian-American crime-family jargon, a "made man" is someone who has been formally inducted into the Mafia. – Michael Harvey Aug 2 at 13:23

The sword and the gun are part of the ritual of joining the Mafia although it appears that some clans use a knife:


In Sicily:

an aspiring member must take part in an initiation ritual [...]. he describes the initiation ritual he underwent in the spring of 1893:

I was invited to take part in a secret meeting of the Fratuzzi. I entered a mysterious room where there were many men armed with guns sitting around a table. In the center of the table there was a skull drawn on a piece of paper and a knife. To be admitted to the Fratuzzi, I had to undergo an initiation consisting of some trials of loyalty and the pricking of the lower lip with the tip of the knife: the blood from the wound soaked the skull

In the United States

Valachi gave the most well-known description of the ceremony:

I sit down at the table. There is wine. Someone put a gun and a knife in front of me. The gun was a .38 and the knife was what we call a dagger. Maranzano [the boss] motions us up and we say some words in Italian. Then Joe Bonanno pricks my finger with a pin and squeezes until the blood comes out. What then happens, Mr. Maranzano says, 'This blood means that we are now one Family. You live by the gun and the knife and you die by the gun and the knife.'

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

user3108268 is a new contributor. Be nice, and check out our Code of Conduct.

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.