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A gun moll (aka gangster moll) is the female companion of a male professional criminal. In some contexts, "gun moll" more specifically suggests that the woman handles a firearm.

When the term came into usage in the first decade of the 20th century,[1] "gun" was not derived from the English word "gun", but from the Yiddish word meaning "thief", variously transliterated into English as ganef, gonif, or goniff,[2] itself derived from Hebrew "Ganav" (גנב). However, this distinction gradually disappeared, especially when such women became associated with gangsters noted for their frequent use of guns.

"Moll" derives from "Molly", used as a euphemism for "whore" or "prostitute" and attested at least since 17th century England. It is also worth noting that "molly" is a term for a female cat, though it is much more rarely used than "tom" is for males.

In the U.S., the term has mostly been applied to a woman associating with an American gangster of the 1920s and 1930s, and in most cases remarkable only because of his notoriety. Extended use of the term without awareness of the Yiddish root, however, has invited interpretations of "gun" as suggesting more than simply criminal associations. Bonnie Parker and Blanche Barrow were gun molls in this stronger sense, and especially notable examples in general, because of their accompanying the rest of the Barrow Gang to the planned locations of violent crimes, and, in Parker's case, apparently directly assisting at least to the extent of loading guns in the midst of shootouts.


Prominent gun mollsEdit

Helen Julia Godman - Passport photo taken in 1919

Prominent, true-life gun molls (and the men they were associated with) include:

Fictional gun mollsEdit

Honey Bunny- played by Amanda Plummer in Pulp Fiction.

Related termsEdit

  • Italian and Italian American gangsters and mafiosi often refer to their mistress as a comare (Southern Italian slang for "godmother"), often Americanized to goomah or goomar.
  • Moll – common term for whore or prostitute, and also the nickname of a 17th-century criminal Moll Cutpurse.
  • Cocota or Cocotinha, the Brazilian term for a promiscuous, or often criminal-related, girl or woman.
  • Mina de fé, another Brazilian term for a female gangster, specially related to the gang leader's companion.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "the definition of gun moll".
  2. ^ "Ganef - Define Ganef at".
  3. ^ Long Beach Independent – Long Beach, California – Wednesday, August 3, 1949 – p. 23
  4. ^ Long Beach Independent – Long Beach, California – Thursday, July 21, 1949 – p. 32
  5. ^ "California, Death Index, 1940–1997," index, FamilySearch (, Accessed 24 Aug 2013, Alfred Gerardo Sica, 1987.
  6. ^ Long Beach Press-Telegram – Long Beach, California – Friday, November 2, 1956 – p. 23 (This article points out that DaLonne had actually lived with Fred Sica for a number of years.)
  7. ^ "Dalonne Jackson". IMDb.
  8. ^ "New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795–1949" (database), FamilySearch, March 20, 2015
    "Helen Daniels," DOD – January 7, 1945; citing Death, Queens, New York, New York City Municipal Archives; FHL microfilm (GS Film No.) 2194201, NYC Queens Reference No. 308 (registration/login may be required, but is free)
  9. ^ Van Cise, Philip S. Fighting the Underworld. (Cambridge, Mass.: The Riverside Press, 1936) OCLC 435739
  10. ^ Canby, Vincent (June 15, 1990). "Dick Tracy (1990) Review/FIlm; A Cartoon Square Comes to Life In 'Dick Tracy'". The New York Times.

External linksEdit