mafia
Posted: 24 August 2007 11:16 AM   [ Ignore ]
Rank
Total Posts:  17
Joined  2007-02-19

What is the origin of MAFIA

[Edit: changed subject line—dw]

[ Edited: 24 August 2007 01:32 PM by Dave Wilton ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 August 2007 11:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  352
Joined  2007-02-13

Love the thread topic!  ;-P

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 August 2007 11:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1263
Joined  2007-03-21
alanabbott - 24 August 2007 11:16 AM

What is the origin of MAFIA

Welcome to this discussion.  Word Detective has this:

But the most likely source is simply the Sicilian dialect word “mafia,” which means “boldness” or “bravado,” possibly from the Arabic “mahjas,” meaning “aggressive boasting” or “bragging.”

Profile
 
 
Posted: 26 August 2007 08:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  821
Joined  2007-03-01

Interesting. I note that Morris doesn’t even consider the explanation I had always heard alongside the “My daughter!” one, viz. that ”mafia” is the Sicilian form of the word best known in its French form ”maquis”; i.e. the scrubland vegetation of the Mediterranean hill country, in which bandits, resistants etc. may conveniently hang out.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 26 August 2007 02:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4693
Joined  2007-01-03

The OED3 has the following:

Italian regional (Sicily) mafiusu is perh. a blend of marfusu scoundrel and marfiuni, marpiuni cheat (Italian marpione; ult. < French morpion MORPION n.); Italian regional (Sicily) marfusu (Italian malfusso rascal; 15th cent.) is < Spanish marfuz renegade, traitor (1330) < Arabic marfud outcast, reprobate, passive participle of rafada refuse to accept, reject.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 26 August 2007 10:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  429
Joined  2007-02-14

Interesting is that in Dutch it is spelled as ‘maffia’ to reflect the pronunciation (short -a-). Also ‘maffiosi’ etc.

Profile
 
 
   
 
 
‹‹ Battling Dichotomies      scientism ››