The term fugazi is a multi-purpose word, conveying numerous meanings, depending on the context ion which it is being used.
In most cases, it is used for describing things or even people as fake or false; not legitimate.
Another use of the phrase is coming from its widespread confusion with the military acronym FUBAR, from which many people like to originate “fugazi” from.
In this sense, “fugazi” or FUBAR describes things, people or situations as damaged beyond all repair.
Origin of the term
While the exact origin of “fugazi” in not known, there are numerous hypotheses, with many of them associating the phrase with Italian-Americans.
These state that the term is a loan from the Italian lexicon, either coming from the word fugace (fleeting) or the phrase fu cazzo (it was excrement).
Other popular theories connect the phrase to the Vietnam War, where a type of French landmine, called fougasse was widely applied.
A different approach to this Vietnam War idea originates “fugazi” from the military abbreviation FUBAR.
Spread of the term
The expression was made popular in the late 1990’s, thanks to the movie Donnie Brasco, presenting the story of an undercover FBI agent infiltrating the Italian mafia.
“Fugazi” was also the name of a popular post-hardcore punk rock formation based in Washington D.C. between 1986 and 2003.
The term also appears in the critically acclaimed flick of Martin Scorsese; “The Wolf of Wall Street” where the stock market is being described as “fugazi”.