To grant a reprieve from being whacked. About to be whacked. Sicilian slang for the Italian compare ; plural: Violation is punishable by death.
Tax-free gambling profits, as in the money taken that is not reported to the IRS. Younger, less traditional generation of Mafiosi. Less likely to live by the old rules. Mobspeak Glossary Is your shylock who brags about being a big earner for the borgata threatening to do a piece of work because you haven't paid your vig, and you don't know what the hell he's talking about?
A dope, idiot, useless underling. Capo di tutti capi: To go see the boss when summoned. Literally, "godfather" in Italian. Possible Arabic roots of the word include:. The public's association of the word with the criminal secret society was probably inspired by the play "I mafiusi di la Vicaria" "The Mafiosi of the Vicaria" by Giuseppe Rizzotto and Gaspare Mosca.
The words Mafia and mafiusi are never mentioned in the play; they were probably put in the title to add a local flair. The play is about a Palermo prison gang with traits similar to the Mafia: Soon after, the use of the term mafia began appearing in the Italian state's early reports on the phenomenon.
The word made its first official appearance in in a report by the prefect of Palermo , Filippo Antonio Gualterio. A formal definition of "mafia" can be hard to come by. The term was never officially used by Sicilian mafiosi, who prefer to refer to their organization as " Cosa Nostra ". Nevertheless, it is typically by comparison to the Sicilian Mafia that other criminal groups earn the label.
The expansion of the term has not been welcomed by all scholars. Giovanni Falcone , an anti-Mafia judge murdered by the Sicilian Mafia in , objected to the conflation of the term "Mafia" with organized crime in general:. While there was a time when people were reluctant to pronounce the word "Mafia" I am no longer willing to accept the habit of speaking of the Mafia in descriptive and all-inclusive terms that make it possible to stack up phenomena that are indeed related to the field of organized crime but that have little or nothing in common with the Mafia.
Scholars such as Diego Gambetta  and Leopoldo Franchetti have characterized the Sicilian Mafia as a "cartel of private protection firms", whose primary business is protection racketeering: For many businessmen in Sicily, they provide an essential service when they cannot rely on the police and judiciary to enforce their contracts and protect their properties from thieves this is often because they are engaged in black market deals.
Scholars have observed that many other societies around the world have criminal organizations of their own that provide essentially the same protection service through similar methods. For instance, in Russia after the collapse of Communism, the state security system had all but collapsed, forcing businessmen to hire criminal gangs to enforce their contracts and protect their properties from thieves.
These gangs are popularly called "the Russian Mafia" by foreigners, but they prefer to go by the term krysha. With the [Russian] state in collapse and the security forces overwhelmed and unable to police contract law, [ In his analysis of the Sicilian Mafia, Gambetta provided the following hypothetical scenario to illustrate the Mafia's function in the Sicilian economy. Suppose a grocer wants to buy meat from a butcher without paying sales tax to the government. Because this is a black market deal, neither party can complain to the police if either of them cheats.
The grocer is afraid that the butcher will sell him rotten meat. Not only were they the setting of many killings and important meetings, but they were also an effective means of smuggling of drugs and other illegal goods. From to , Sicilian Mafiosi in the U. Another one of the areas of the economy that the Mafia was most influential was Las Vegas, Nevada , beginning just after World War II with the opening of the first gambling resort " The Flamingo ".
This capital didn't come from one Mafia family alone, but many throughout the country seeking to gain even more power and wealth. Large profits from casinos, run as legitimate businesses, would help to finance many of the illegal activities of the Mafia from the s into the s.
Tourism in the city greatly increased through the s and strengthened the local economy. However, the s was also when the Mafia's influence in the Las Vegas economy began to dwindle. In , the Nevada State Legislature passed a law that made it easier for corporations to own casinos. This brought new investors to the local economy to buy casinos from the mafia. This law gave more authority to law enforcement to pursue the mafia for its illegal activities.
There was a sharp decline in the mob involvement in Las Vegas in the s. It provides for extended criminal penalties for acts performed as part of an ongoing criminal organization. Although not the first Mafia member to testify against his peers, such a powerful mobster agreeing to do so set a precedent for waves of mobsters thereafter to break the code of silence to do the same; giving up information and testifying in exchange for immunity from prosecution for their crimes.
This led to dozens of mobsters testifying and providing information during the s, which led to the imprisonment of hundreds of mobsters. As a result, the Mafia has seen a major decline in its power and influence in organized crime since the s. In the 21st century, the Mafia has continued to be involved in a broad spectrum of illegal activities. These include murder, extortion, corruption of public officials, gambling, infiltration of legitimate businesses, labor racketeering, loan sharking, tax fraud schemes and stock manipulation schemes.
Although the Mafia used to be nationwide, today most of its activities are confined to the Northeast and Chicago. The American Mafia operates on a strict hierarchical structure. While similar to its Sicilian origins, the American Mafia's modern organizational structure was created by Salvatore Maranzano in All inducted members of the Mafia are called "made" men.
This signifies that they are untouchable in the criminal underworld and any harm brought to them will be met with retaliation. With the exception of associates, all mobsters are "made" official members of a crime family.
The three highest positions make up the administration. Below the administration, there are factions each headed by a caporegime captain , who lead a crew of soldiers and associates. They report to the administration and can be seen as equivalent to managers in a business. When a boss makes a decision, he rarely issues orders directly to workers who would carry it out, but instead passed instructions down through the chain of command.
This way, the higher levels of the organization are insulated from law enforcement attention if the lower level members who actually commit the crime should be captured or investigated. This provides what is called plausible deniability.
There are occasionally other positions in the family leadership. Frequently, ruling panels have been set up when a boss goes to jail to divide the responsibility of the family these usually consist of three or five members.
This also helps divert police attention from any one member. The family messenger and street boss were positions created by former Genovese family leader Vincent Gigante.
The initiation ritual emerged from various sources, such as Roman Catholic confraternities and Masonic Lodges in midth century Sicily  and has hardly changed to this day.
The Chief of Police of Palermo in reported that the man of honor to be initiated would be led into the presence of a group of bosses and underbosses. One of these men would prick the initiate's arm or hand and tell him to smear the blood onto a sacred image, usually a saint. The oath of loyalty would be taken as the image was burned and scattered, thus symbolizing the annihilation of traitors.
This was confirmed by the first pentito , Tommaso Buscetta. A hit , or murder, of a "made" man had to be approved by the leadership of his family, or retaliatory hits would be made, possibly inciting a war. In a state of war, families would "go to the mattresses"—an Italian phrase which roughly meant to go into battle. When the boss decides to let a member into the family one will be part of a ceremony, involving the drawing of blood, swearing an oath over a gun or holy picture, and obeying the rules of the organization.
In New York City , the Mafia created customs and traditions which the members have to follow. If one breaks any of the rules they can be killed by another member of the family and usually the murder is committed by the people closest to that person.
Homosexuality is reportedly incompatible with the American Mafia code of conduct. In , John D'Amato , acting boss of the DeCavalcante family, was killed when the family learned of his sexual relationships with other men. The following is a list of Mafia families that have been active in the U. Note that some families have members and associates working in other regions as well. The organization is not limited to these regions. Naval Intelligence entered into an agreement with Lucky Luciano to gain his assistance in keeping the New York waterfront free from saboteurs after the destruction of the SS Normandie.
While it was in the process of being converted into a troopship, the luxury ocean liner, Normandie , mysteriously burst into flames with 1, sailors and civilians on board. All but one escaped, but were injured and by the next day the ship was a smoking hulk. In his report, twelve years later, William B. Herlands, Commissioner of Investigation, made the case for the US government talking to top criminals, stating "The Intelligence authorities were greatly concerned with the problems of sabotage and espionage Suspicions were rife with respect to the leaking of information about convoy movements.
In , Linda Schiro testified in an unrelated court case that her late boyfriend, Gregory Scarpa , a capo in the Colombo family, had been recruited by the FBI to help find the bodies of three civil rights workers who had been murdered in Mississippi in by the Ku Klux Klan. She said that she had been with Scarpa in Mississippi at the time and had witnessed him being given a gun, and later a cash payment, by FBI agents.
She testified that Scarpa had threatened a Klansman by placing a gun in the Klansman's mouth, forcing the Klansman to reveal the location of the bodies.
Similar stories of Mafia involvement in recovering the bodies had been circulating for years, and had been previously published in the New York Daily News , but had never before been introduced in court. In several Mafia families, killing a state authority is forbidden due to the possibility of extreme police retaliation.
In some rare strict cases, conspiring to commit such a murder is punishable by death. Jewish mobster and Mafia associate Dutch Schultz was reportedly killed by his Italian peers out of fear that he would carry out a plan to kill New York City prosecutor Thomas Dewey and thus bring unprecedented police attention to the Mafia.
However, the Mafia has carried out hits on law enforcement, especially in its earlier history. A statue of him was later erected across the street from a Lucchese hangout. In , a U. Senate special committee , chaired by Democratic Tennessee Senator Estes Kefauver , determined that a "sinister criminal organization" known as the Mafia operated around the United States. The purpose of the program was to have agents collect information on the mobsters in their territories and report it regularly to Washington to maintain a centralized collection of intelligence on racketeers.
Local and state law enforcement became suspicious when numerous expensive cars bearing license plates from around the country arrived in what was described as "the sleepy hamlet of Apalachin". One of the most direct and significant outcomes of the Apalachin Meeting was that it helped to confirm the existence of a nationwide criminal conspiracy, a fact that some, including Federal Bureau of Investigation Director J.
Edgar Hoover , had long refused to acknowledge. In , Joe Valachi became the first American Cosa Nostra member to provide a detailed look at the inside of the organization. Senate Committee on Government Operations , Valachi exposed the name, structure, power bases, codes, swearing-in ceremony, and members of this organization. All of this had been secret up to this point.
The witness protection program was also enhanced by the same legislation. Frequent use of the act began during the late s and early s. Others like Anthony 'Fat Tony' Salerno , was thought of as the Genovese Godfather but was only a front-boss while Gambino boss Paul Castellano was murdered before the trial began. The act continues to be used to great effect today and has hurt the Mob severely. On January 20, , the United States Justice Department issued 16 indictments against Northeast American Mafia families resulting in charged defendants  and more than arrests.
It has been described as the largest operation against the Mafia in U. The film Scarface is loosely based on the story of Al Capone. In , Paramount Pictures released the film The Brotherhood starring Kirk Douglas as a mafia don, which was a financial flop. Nevertheless, Paramount's production chief Robert Evans subsidized the completion of a Mario Puzo novel with similar themes and plot elements, and bought the screen rights before completion.
It immediately inspired other mafia-related films, including a direct sequel, The Godfather Part II , also partly based on Puzo's novel , and yet another big winner at the Academy Awards , as well as films based on real Mafiosi like Honor Thy Father and Lucky Luciano both in and Lepke and Capone both in An ambitious part miniseries by NBC called The Gangster Chronicles based on the rise of many major crime bosses of the s and s, aired in From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
This article is about the Italian-American criminal organization in the United States. For the criminal society in Sicily first known as the Mafia, see Sicilian Mafia. For other uses, see Mafia disambiguation. For other American criminal organizations, see List of criminal enterprises, gangs and syndicates United States and Template: Organized crime groups in the Americas. This article needs additional citations for verification.
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This is a glossary of words related to the Mafia, primarily the Italian American Mafia and Sicilian Mafia. administration: the top-level "management" of an organized crime Family -- the boss, underboss and consigliere.
The term "Mafia" was originally applied to the Sicilian Mafia and originates in Sicily, but it has since expanded to encompass other organizations of similar methods and purpose, e.g., "the Russian Mafia" or "the Japanese Mafia".
What Turrisi Colonna called the mafia in his first study of the mafia eva Dr. Galati's Lemon Groves Dr. Galati took over lemon farm in the s, Carollo was the current warden . The term mafia, originally indicating (not meaning) a group of people "respected" for being charismatic members of that brotherhood, slightly but inesorably turned into a synonym for organized crime. My personal idea is that the two different meanings still coexist in Sicilian culture, often originating a confusig and ambiguous mix.
Omertá: the much-vaunted Mafia vow of silence. In other words, don't rat on your friends. Transgression is punishable by death. Oobatz: u'pazzu—crazy. Outfit: a clan, or family within the Mafia. Paying tribute: giving the boss a cut of the deal. Piacere: "Pleasure to meet you." Pinched: to get caught by the cops. Points: percent of income; cut. Synonyms for Mafia at fashionlosdaeroh.cf with free online thesaurus, antonyms, and definitions. Find descriptive alternatives for Mafia.