Cosa Nostra is the traditional name given to the Mafia, which is Italian for "Our Thing", originally by the Italian press, as they needed a name to separate the Mafia form other organized crime organizations in Italy. It is widely used in the United States as a formal term for the Mafia. However, the Mafia themselves do not use any name for their organization as they do not consider it necessary (they use the term families instead).
In an effort to make Cosa Nostra sound more like a proper name, and to distinguish the American mafia from their Sicilian counterparts, federal agents where responsible for the addition of the “La”. The phrase, literally translated “the our thing”, has been interpreted as “this thing of ours”.
Behind the scenesEdit
Cosa Nostra was first brought about in the United states by Joseph Valachi in his testimony before the senate in 1963, where he told of the inner-most workings of the Mafia.