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1[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.
- ‘Under Italian criminal law it is a criminal offence to be a member of the Mafia.’
- ‘Where Mafia and drug barons rule, investigators of any kind become targets.’
- ‘He and several Sicilian businessmen are charged with running legitimate companies as fronts for the Mafia.’
- ‘The goal of the police campaign is to drive the Mafia out of the city and take Chicago back.’
- ‘In fact, he has stood trial from 1993 on charges of corruption and membership of the Mafia.’
- ‘Women in the Mafia have been documented as a rising trend in Italy's criminal underworld.’
- 1.1 Any organized group of criminals resembling the Mafia in its way of operating:‘the rise of criminal mafias in Russian and Eastern Europe’
- ‘There must be a solid hierarchy and system of protection safeguarded by organized crime syndicates or mafia.’
- ‘Large-scale embezzlement required experienced helpers, so criminal cooperatives appeared that tended to develop into so-called mafias.’
- ‘Often sex rackets and drug mafias operate under the veil of these centres.’
- ‘This milestone measure is a living tribute to the thousands of men and women who have lost their lives in pursuit of a world free of mafias, drug cartels and criminal gangs.’
- ‘Smuggling, bribery, protection rackets and the rise of criminal mafias are some of the common symptoms of rigidly controlled economies.’
- 1.2 A group regarded as exerting a hidden sinister influence:‘the British literary mafia’
- ‘It looks to Bob like the pizza Mafia is out to get him, but the pizza parlors are victims too.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘Non-governmental agencies should play a key role in working against forest mafias.’
Italian (Sicilian dialect), originally in the sense bragging.
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