Definition of omertà in US English:



  • (as practiced by the Mafia) a code of silence about criminal activity and a refusal to give evidence to authorities.

    • ‘And then it is all locked down in a code of omertà: Enron is a strong buy!’
    • ‘Throughout the grim tower blocks and porridge-grey council estates an implacable culture of cronyism, corruption and omertà rules.’
    • ‘There is something of an omertà among this trio at the core of the club.’
    • ‘Their omertà, or vow of silence, is made easier by the anonymity of the Web.’
    • ‘On the euro itself, Brown imposed oaths of omertà, lest even a small sign of didactic enthusiasm be mistaken for serious intent to enter.’


Italian dialect, variant of umiltà ‘humility’.