Wet One's Beak Meaning

(idiomatic, gangster slang) To take one's share from the financial proceeds of illicit activity.

Example: 1876, "The Charlemagne Romances: Part 4—Pulci," The Monthly Packet of Evening Readings, vol. 22, p. 467 (Google preview):
  Rinaldo . . . is represented as a gluttonous feeder, and rather disposed to quarrel over his meat; liking also to ‘wet his beak’ in generous liquor.
2005, John Lynch, Tom Water, ISBN 9780007202683, p. 168 (Google preview):
  Then, very softly, she says, "I'll stick the kettle on so we can wet our beaks."
2011, K'wan Foye, Eviction Notice: A Hood Rat Novel, ISBN 9781429984430, p. 248 (Google preview):
  â€œYo, it's gonna be a few minutes before the acts go on so let's hit the VIP and wet our beaks a li'l bit,” Gotti screamed in Tone's ear over the music.
1996, Mario Puzo, The Last Don (2004 Random House edition), ISBN 9780345480712, p. 5 (Google preview):
  "Giorgio," the Don said, ". . . our Family will now serve only as financial advisors to all the other Families. . . . [W]e must protect everyone's money, for which they will let us wet our beaks."
2009 August 30, William K. Rashbaum, "Concern Is High That the Mob May Seek a Cut of the Stimulus Pie," New York Times (retrieved 15 August 2013):
  [I]nvestigators who track organized crime believe that some members have geared up to take advantage of the swift and enormous cash influx . . . looking, as the old Sicilian expression goes, to wet their beaks.
2012, Nick Taylor, Sins of the Father: The True Story of a Family Running from the Mob, ISBN 9781451668674, p. 356 (Google preview):
  "See, the thing about the mob, everybody had to wet his beak. . . . I was supposed to give them a piece of my hard work."