Definitions

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A secret society which organized in Sicily as a political organization, but is now widespread among Italians, and is used to further or protect private interests, reputedly by illegal methods; called also the Sicilian Mafia.
  • n. A group of loosely associated of criminal organizations in the United States, some having ties to the Sicilian Mafia, and organized in “families”; the term is applied to the entire group of organizations, or to any one local group. Also, loosely, organized groups of criminals anywhere, as the Russian mafia.
  • n. Any tightly knit group of trusted associates having strong control or influence in some area.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In Sicily
  • n. a general sentiment of hostility to legal restraint or punishment, or to the invoking of the law for any purpose; also
  • n. the collective number of those who sympathize with this hostility and often express it by criminal acts.
  • n. A supposed wide-spread secret society of Sicilians, or other Italians, leagued in opposition to the laws or for purposes of revenge by assassination.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a crime syndicate in the United States; organized in families; believed to have important relations to the Sicilian Mafia
  • n. any tightly knit group of trusted associates
  • n. a secret terrorist group in Sicily; originally opposed tyranny but evolved into a criminal organization in the middle of the 19th century

Etymologies

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