Definition of Mafia in English:


Syllabification: Ma·fi·a
Pronunciation: /ˈmäfēə


(the Mafia) [treated as singular or plural]
  • 1An organized international body of criminals, operating originally in Sicily and now especially in Italy and the US and having a complex and ruthless behavioral code.
    More example sentences
    • Where Mafia and drug barons rule, investigators of any kind become targets.
    • Under Italian criminal law it is a criminal offence to be a member of the Mafia.
    • Women in the Mafia have been documented as a rising trend in Italy's criminal underworld.
  • 1.1 (usually mafia) Any organized group using extortion and other criminal methods.
    More example sentences
    • Smuggling, bribery, protection rackets and the rise of criminal mafias are some of the common symptoms of rigidly controlled economies.
    • Often sex rackets and drug mafias operate under the veil of these centres.
    • There must be a solid hierarchy and system of protection safeguarded by organized crime syndicates or mafia.
  • 1.2 (usually mafia) A closed group of people in a particular field, having a controlling influence: the conservative top tennis mafia
    More example sentences
    • Leaving the court mafia intact would make the fight against corruption useless.
    • Thieves, vandals, and con artists appeared, and online mafias emerged.
    • Sandalwood mafias thrive due to the political patronage.


Italian (Sicilian dialect), originally in the sense 'bragging'.

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