Ma·​fia ˈmä-fē-ə How to pronounce Mafia (audio)
: a secret criminal society of Sicily or Italy
: a similarly conceived criminal organization in the U.S.
also : a similar organization elsewhere
the Japanese Mafia
: a criminal organization associated with a particular traffic
the cocaine Mafia
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

Examples of Mafia in a Sentence

a member of the Mafia He's an important figure in the television mafia.
Recent Examples on the Web Later, entourages served to provide support and security for stars—the group of friends, associates, employees, and cousins that revolved around Elvis Presley even got their own name: The Memphis Mafia. Time, 26 Sep. 2023 Smartmatic countered that claim in a court hearing Wednesday, with its attorney J. Erik Connolly likening the Murdochs to Mafia bosses ordering a hit on the voting machine maker in order to pander to Trump supporters and boost Fox News ratings. Stephen Battaglio, Los Angeles Times, 21 Sep. 2023 Then the President of Universal Music Nordic, Sundin was invited to Ibiza to see Swedish House Mafia play their 2008 residency at Pacha. Katie Bain, Billboard, 13 Sep. 2023 Also Read Three 6 Mafia Announce Reunion Tour What are your earliest memories of rap? Spin Staff, Spin, 23 Aug. 2023 By Bloomberg News On February 25, 1985, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents fanned out across New York to arrest the heads of the city’s five Mafia families on charges brought by an ambitious young federal prosecutor. Globe Staff,, 15 Aug. 2023 Some of the greatest hits that will make the Dallas menu include the Bacon Maple Bar, a pink sprinkle doughnut called the Homer, and a banana-cinnamon fritter with chocolate and peanut butter called the Memphis Mafia. Sarah Blaskovich, Dallas News, 14 Aug. 2023 An inmate was stabbed to death last week in Men’s Central Jail, an incident that authorities suspect may represent more fallout from the killing of Michael Torres, a Mexican Mafia member who controlled rackets in the Los Angeles County jails. Matthew Ormseth, Los Angeles Times, 11 Aug. 2023 For the 2023-2024 school year, Move-In Day Mafia will be able to help 39 students at three schools: Paul Quinn College, Prairie View A&M University, and Fisk University. Melissa Noel, Essence, 4 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'Mafia.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1866, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of Mafia was in 1866

Dictionary Entries Near Mafia

Cite this Entry

“Mafia.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


Ma·​fia ˈmäf-ē-ə How to pronounce Mafia (audio)
: a secret criminal society of Sicily or Italy
: a similar criminal organization in the U.S. or elsewhere

Geographical Definition


geographical name

Ma·​fia ˈmä-fē-ə How to pronounce Mafia (audio)
island of Tanzania in the Indian Ocean south of Zanzibar area 170 square miles (442 square kilometers), population 16,748

More from Merriam-Webster on Mafia

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