La Cosa Nostra - Usage of The Term Mafia

Usage of The Term Mafia

Further information: Sicilian Mafia#Etymology

The term Mafia was originally used in Italy by the media and law enforcement to describe criminal groups in Sicily. The origins of the term are debatable. Like the Sicilian Mafia, the American Mafia didn't use the term Mafia to describe itself. Neither group has a formal name and instead used the term Cosa Nostra (Italian for our thing) when referring to themselves. When Italian immigrants started forming organized crime groups in America, the American press borrowed the term Mafia from Italy and it became the predominant name used by law enforcement and the public.

Mafia properly refers to either the Sicilian or American Mafia. In modern usage, when referring to the Mafia, there may be several meanings, including a local area's Italian organized crime element, the Mafia family of a major city, the entire Mafia of the United States, or the original Sicilian Mafia. Widespread recognition of the word has led to its use in the names of other criminal organizations, such as Russian Mafia, Mexican Mafia or Jewish Mafia, as well as non-criminal organizations, such as the term Irish Mafia (not to be confused with the Irish Mob, also referred to as the Irish Mafia), applied to John F. Kennedy's political team.

Read more about this topic:  La Cosa Nostra

Famous quotes containing the words usage of the, usage of, usage and/or term:

    Girls who put out are tramps. Girls who don’t are ladies. This is, however, a rather archaic usage of the word. Should one of you boys happen upon a girl who doesn’t put out, do not jump to the conclusion that you have found a lady. What you have probably found is a lesbian.
    Fran Lebowitz (b. 1951)

    Pythagoras, Locke, Socrates—but pages
    Might be filled up, as vainly as before,
    With the sad usage of all sorts of sages,
    Who in his life-time, each was deemed a bore!
    The loftiest minds outrun their tardy ages.
    George Gordon Noel Byron (1788–1824)

    ...Often the accurate answer to a usage question begins, “It depends.” And what it depends on most often is where you are, who you are, who your listeners or readers are, and what your purpose in speaking or writing is.
    Kenneth G. Wilson (b. 1923)

    There are no illegitimate children, only illegitimate parents—if the term is to be used at all.
    Bernadette McAliskey (Nee Devlin)