What is Mafia?

  • (noun): A secret terrorist group in Sicily; originally opposed tyranny but evolved into a criminal organization in the middle of the 19th century.
    Synonyms: Maffia, Sicilian Mafia
    See also — Additional definitions below


The Mafia (also known as Cosa Nostra) is a criminal syndicate that emerged in the mid-nineteenth century in Sicily, Italy. It is a loose association of criminal groups that share a common organizational structure and code of conduct, and whose common enterprise is protection racketeering. Each group, known as a "family", "clan", or "cosca", claims sovereignty over a territory in which it operates its rackets – usually a town or village or a neighbourhood (borgata) of a larger city. Its members call themselves "men of honour", although the public often refers to them as "mafiosi".

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Some articles on Mafia:

Giuseppe Ayala
... He was known as an "anti-Mafia" magistrate, and had functioned as an "anti-Mafia" judge ... He raised doubts about whether it was only the mafia that was involved in the killing of Giovanni Falcone ... published a book entitled La guerra dei giusti I giudici, la mafia, la politica (The war of the righteous The judges, the mafia, politics), detailing his experiences in politics and his encounters with the mafia ...
Cesare Manzella - Impastato
... Manzella was an uncle by marriage of Giuseppe Impastato, the Anti-mafia activist who was murdered by the Mafia in 1978 ... Peppino Impastato's Anti-mafia activity might have been triggered by the brutal murder of Manzella, when Peppino was 15 years old ... "Is this really Mafia? If this is Mafia I will fight it for the rest of my life…." ...
Antonino Calderone - Mafia in Catania
... He testified about the relationship between the Mafia and the four Cavalieri del Lavoro (Knights of Labour) of Catania the construction entrepreneurs Carmelo Costanzo, Francesco Finocchiaro, Mario Rendo and Gaetano ... The Catanese Mafia was generally able to learn about arrest warrants before they were issued and sometimes have names crossed off the list. 1970s were a turning point in the relationship between the Mafia and politics ...
Mafia - Notable Sicilian Mafiosi
... boss of Villalba, was considered to be one of the most influential Mafia bosses of Sicily after World War II until his death in 1954 ... Michele Navarra (1905–1958), boss of the Mafia Family in Corleone from 1940s to 1958 Salvatore "Ciaschiteddu" Greco (1923–1978), boss of the Mafia Family in Ciaculli, he was the ... Gaetano Badalamenti (1923–2004), boss of the Mafia Family in Cinisi Angelo La Barbera (1924–1975) boss of the Mafia Family in Palermo Centro Michele ...
Antonino Calderone - Mafia Career
... Originally, Catania was not a traditional Mafia area ... The Mafia was much more infested in the western part of Sicily ... According to Antonino Calderone, the first Mafia family in Catania was started by Antonio Saitta ...

More definitions of "Mafia":

  • (noun): Any tightly knit group of trusted associates.
    Synonyms: maffia
  • (noun): A crime syndicate in the United States; organized in families; believed to have important relations to the Sicilian Mafia.
    Synonyms: Maffia, Cosa Nostra