omertà

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See also: omerta

English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Borrowing from Italian omertà, Southern dialectal variant of umiltà(humility), from Latin humilitās, from humilis(humble), from humus(ground, soil).

Pronunciation[edit]

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Noun[edit]

omertà ‎(countable and uncountable, plural omertàs)

  1. (crime) A code of silence amongst members of a criminal organization (especially the Mafia) that forbids divulging insider secrets to law enforcement, often also followed outside of the organization in fear of retaliation; extensively, any code of silence.
    • 2005 March 4, Boston Globe:
      Patriarca pleaded guilty in December 1991 to racketeering and conspiracy charges, but he refused to admit he was a member of the Mafia, clinging to his vow of ‘omerta’ to the secret organization.
    • 2006 October 27, Los Angeles Times:
      There was a time that high-profile killings such as the 1968 assassinations of Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. brought passionate cries for limitations on handguns. A bipartisan omerta now smothers the issue.
    • 2016 October 1, “How the FDA Manipulates the Media”, in Scientific American[1]:
      The FDA was not pleased that the omertà had been broken.

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Italian[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Southern dialectal form of umiltà(humility), from Latin humilitātem, accusative of humilitās, from humilis(humble), from humus(ground, soil). See Sicilian umirtà.

Pronunciation[edit]

Italian Wikipedia has an article on:
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  • IPA(key): /o.merˈta/, [omerˈt̪ä]
  • Rhymes: -a
  • Hyphenation: o‧mer‧tà

Noun[edit]

omertà f ‎(invariable)

  1. (crime) An omertà or any code of silence.
  2. (extensively, pejorative) A form of solidarity among members of a group, constisting in hiding compromising truths; a wall of silence.
  3. (rare, dialectal, southern Italy) humility

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