Definition of Mafia in English:

Mafia

Line breaks: Mafia
Pronunciation: /ˈmafɪə
 
/

noun

1 (the Mafia) [treated as singular or plural] An organized international body of criminals, operating originally in Sicily and now especially in Italy and the US and having a complex and ruthless behavioural 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 (mafia) Any organized group of criminals resembling the Mafia in its way of operating: the rise of criminal mafias in Russian and Eastern Europe
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 (mafia) A group regarded as exerting a hidden sinister influence: the British literary 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.

Origin

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

Definition of Mafia in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day demoralize
Pronunciation: dɪˈmɒrəlʌɪz
verb
cause (someone) to lose confidence or hope