-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.
What they call black people on the Sopranos.
"Meadow's still goin' out wit dat mulignan." -Tony Soprano
By Timothy Wire
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.
By James Pyle
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
By Cecil Goheen