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sopranos.fandom.com:
(1) Little Pussy Malanga, sometimes confused with fellow reputed mobster Big Pussy Bonpensiero, had just returned from Florida when he was detained by authorities.

What does "fellow reputed mobster" mean?

I think:
"A fellow mobster" means "a mobster belonging to the same gang of mobsters".
"A reputed mobster" means "a rumoured mobster".

But then "a + fellow + reputed mobster" means "a mobster belonging to the gang of rumoured mobsters" where "the gang of rumoured mobsters" doesn't make sense.
Why does this logic lead to nonsense?

I think the correct way of saying is:
"A + reputed + fellow mobster" means "a rumoured mobster belonging to the same gang of mobsters" which makes sense.

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    reputed = widely believed to be. He is widely thought to belong to the same organized crime family as Malanga. Better would be "reputed fellow mobster". However, that they are fellows may be well established and that they are mobsters is a matter of widely held belief. Without knowledge of the "facts" it's impossible to know which order to put the words in.
    – TimR
    Commented Mar 11 at 20:14
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    Probably 3: a member of a group having common characteristics
    – Stuart F
    Commented Mar 11 at 20:23
  • @TimR You wrote: "That they are mobsters is a matter of widely held belief." — Does this mean that the phrase "fellow reputed mobster Bonpensiero" means not only is Bonpensiero a reputed mobster but also Malanga is a reputed mobter? That is, "reputed" relates to both Bonpensiero and Malanga, right? Thanks.
    – Loviii
    Commented Mar 11 at 20:39
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    It's natural language, Lovii, not programming language, and so its logic may be fuzzy. I would not want to risk anything important on an interpretation of what the speaker meant. But one might reasonably infer from "fellow reputed mobster" that the speaker means they are both reputed mobsters and that they are thought to be in cahoots or belong to the same family.
    – TimR
    Commented Mar 11 at 21:12
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    To say fellow mobster is to say similarly a monster - a mobster just like he is, without knowing each other. They don't have to be fellow Cosa Nostra. Fellow mobster = Both mobsters. Commented Mar 11 at 21:19

4 Answers 4

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"Reputed" means claimed or believed to be. A "reputed mobster" is someone believed to be a mobster or accused of being a mobster.

"Fellow" means in the same group or category. How specific that group is depends on context. Often, as here, it's spelled out: "fellow reputed mobster". Both men are in the group "reputed mobsters". There is no indication that they are in the same gang. You are trying to make it too specific.

You certainly could say, "fellow members of the Gambino crime family". In that case you'd be saying that they're in the same gang.

In a totally different context, if I said something about Mr Smith and then said, "his fellow physics professor, Dr Jones ..." I'd be saying that both are physics professors. Nothing more than that. I am not saying that both teach at the same college or have anything in common other than that they are both physics professors.

The two men MIGHT be in the same gang. Or they might not. The statement as given doesn't say.

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    I’d say that this wording might imply a little bit more than you say—something along the lines of “and in that capacity, have some relationship or interaction.” This is not certain but it’s suggested by using “fellow” like this. That doesn’t mean they’re in the same gang—they may well be in rival gangs and have antagonistic interactions—but they’re probably not reputed mobsters in entirely different cities who have never heard of one another.
    – KRyan
    Commented Mar 12 at 17:40
  • The main issue being that you can't just flat out call someone a criminal unless they've actually been convicted of that crime (at least in the USA). So news sources have to throw "accused" or "reputed" in there to protect themselves. Of course that's not a legal concern with fictional mobsters, but it helps immersion to talk about them the same way we'd talk about non-fictional ones. Even after conviction, they're generally more comfortable changing that adjective out for "convicted", rather than just dropping it altogether.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Mar 13 at 14:47
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    @KRyan: I disagree. As Jay's answer points out, both you and the OP here are trying to make it too specific. In such contexts, "fellow" simply means in the same category. The category "reputed mobsters" includes such people everywhere (even in different countries) regardless of whether they have any other connection (including physical proximity). If you look at written instances of with their fellows in Europe I think you'll find plenty of fellows who've never interacted with their fellows. Commented Mar 13 at 16:06
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    @FumbleFingers That’s nice, but I think you’re wrong. I don’t think I am making too much of the statement—I think that statement often does imply that. I put a whole bunch of qualifiers on that, but I nonetheless think it’s worth mentioning because I really do think that using this construction for two things that happen to share the named category but otherwise have absolutely no relation to one another is surprising and unexpected, not the way the construction is usually used—and “the way it’s usually used” is pretty much the whole language, so that’s important information.
    – KRyan
    Commented Mar 13 at 16:18
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    @KRyan: Well, assuming we're both native speakers, we're neither of us likely to change our minds here. After all, we surely think we know our own language! I don't recognize your "nuance" at all, but if you do then that's all there is to it. I certainly wouldn't encourage non-native speakers to commit your nuance to memory though. The relevant full OED definition I.4 is A person who or thing which shares an attribute with another specified person or thing; a person or thing belonging to the same class or category as another. Nothing about proximity, interaction, or anything like that. Commented Mar 13 at 16:33
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"fellow" is simply a casual way to suggest they are similar - belonging to the same category or classification - i.e. being "reputed mobsters".

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This is a quote from a news journalist. When you call someone a "mobster" you are making an accusation, and this could result in you being sued for defamation or libel.

By saying "reputed mobster" the journalist is not claiming that Big Pussy Bonpensiero is a gangster, only claiming that others have said that Big Pussy Bonpensiero is a gangster. They are only saying that Big Pussy Bonpensiero has a reputation as a gangster.

They are doing this to make it less likely that Big Pussy Bonpensiero will sue them for defamation. It is like saying "the alleged gangster", or "the person that some people say is a gangster"

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Your first reading, which you rejected, is very nearly right. The confusion is just that “fellow” doesn’t necessarily mean “belonging to the same gang”, just “belonging to the same category or class” — it can sometimes carry connotations of shared affiliation, but it doesn’t necessarily. As described in Wiktionary:

(also attributively) A person or thing comparable in characteristics with another person or thing; especially, as belonging to the same class or group.

So “…fellow reputed mobster Bonpensiero…” means “…Bonpensiero, who (like Malanga) is a reputed mobster…”

James K’s answer goes further into the reasons why “…reputed…” is a common journalistic usage.

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