Definition of Mafia noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈmæf//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈmɑːf//
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  1. 1 the Mafia [singular + singular or plural verb] a secret organization of criminals, that is active especially in Sicily, Italy and the US a Mafia boss Large areas of the city were controlled by the Mafia. Culture The Mafia is also sometimes called the Mob, the Syndicate or Cosa Nostra (Italian for 'our thing'). The Italian-American Mafia began in the US in the late 19th century and became organized into powerful 'families'. They controlled the production of illegal alcohol during Prohibition and only became weaker in the 1980s when several leaders, called 'godfathers', were sent to prison. Well-known members of the Mafia in the US have included Al Capone and 'Lucky'Luciano. There have been many books and films about the Mafia, including The Godfather and Goodfellas (1990).
  2. 2mafia [countable + singular or plural verb] a group of people within an organization or a community who use their power to get advantages for themselves a member of the local mafia Politics is still dominated by the middle-class mafia.
  3. Word OriginItalian (Sicilian dialect), originally in the sense ‘bragging’.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: Mafia