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[kuh-mawr-uh, -mor-uh; Italian kah-mawr-rah] /kəˈmɔr ə, -ˈmɒr ə; Italian kɑˈmɔr rɑ/
a secret society of Naples, Italy, first publicly known about 1820, that developed into a powerful political organization and was later associated with blackmail, robbery, etc., until its destruction in 1911.
(lowercase) any similar society or group.
1860-65; < Italian < Spanish: dispute, quarrel (of uncertain origin)
Related forms
Camorrism, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for Camorra


a secret society organized in about 1820 in Naples, which thrives on blackmail and extortion
any similar clandestine group
Word Origin
C19: from Italian, probably from Spanish: quarrel
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Encyclopedia Article for Camorra

Italian secret society of criminals that grew to power in Naples during the 19th century. Its origins are uncertain, but it may have existed in Spain as early as the 15th century and been transported thence to Italy. As the Camorra grew in influence and power, its operations included criminal activities of various kinds, such as smuggling, blackmail, extortion, and road robberies. The corrupt Bourbon regime did not interfere with the society; indeed, members of the Camorra were taken into the police service, and the organization became entrenched among both Neapolitan municipal employees and the army.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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