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Dictionary


Ma•fi•a



Pronunciation: (mä'fē-u, maf'ē-u), [key]
n.
1. a hierarchically structured secret organization allegedly engaged in smuggling, racketeering, trafficking in narcotics, and other criminal activities in the U.S., Italy, and elsewhere.
2. (in Sicily)
a. (l.c.) a popular spirit of hostility to legal restraint and to the law, often manifesting itself in criminal acts.
b. a 19th-century secret society, similar to the Camorra in Naples, that acted in this spirit.
3. (often l.c.) any small powerful or influential group in an organization or field; clique. Also,Maf'fi•a.

Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.

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