Ma·​fia | \ ˈmä-fē-ə How to pronounce Mafia (audio) , ˈma- \

Definition of Mafia

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a secret criminal society of Sicily or Italy
b : a similarly conceived criminal organization in the U.S. also : a similar organization elsewhere the Japanese Mafia
c : a criminal organization associated with a particular traffic the cocaine Mafia
2 often not capitalized : a group of people likened to the Mafia especially : a group of people of similar interests or backgrounds prominent in a particular field or enterprise : clique


geographical name
Ma·​fia | \ ˈmä-fē-ə How to pronounce Mafia (audio) , ˈma- \

Definition of Mafia (Entry 2 of 2)

island of Tanzania in the Indian Ocean south of Zanzibar area 170 square miles (442 square kilometers), population 16,748

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Synonyms for Mafia

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of Mafia in a Sentence

Noun a member of the Mafia He's an important figure in the television mafia.

First Known Use of Mafia


1866, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for Mafia


Mafia, Maffia, a Sicilian secret criminal society, from Italian dialect (Sicily), probably from mafiusu

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Time Traveler for Mafia

Time Traveler

The first known use of Mafia was in 1866

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Statistics for Mafia

Cite this Entry

“Mafia.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for Mafia


How to pronounce Mafia (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of Mafia

: a secret criminal organization in Italy
: a similar criminal organization in the U.S.
: a group of closely connected people who have great power or influence in a particular field or business

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Nglish: Translation of Mafia for Spanish Speakers

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