The Mafia, also referred to in Italian as Cosa Nostra ("Our Thing" or "This Thing of Ours"), is a secret society formed in the mid-19th century in Sicily. An offshoot emerged on the East Coast of the United States during the late 19th century following waves of Italian immigration to that country.
The Mafia's power in the United States peaked in the mid-20th century, until a series of FBI investigations in the 1970s and 1980s reduced the Mafia's influence. Despite its decline the Mafia continues to be the most dominant criminal organization operating in the U.S. and uses this status to maintain control over much of both Chicago's and New York City's organized criminal activity. The Mafia and its reputation have become entrenched in American popular culture, portrayed in movies, TV shows, and even commercial advertising.Actual Meaning in Itallian
Beauty, Excellence, Bravery