con·​sig·​li·​e·​re kōn-(ˌ)sil-ˈye-re How to pronounce consigliere (audio)
kän-(ˌ)si-glē-ˈye-rā How to pronounce consigliere (audio)
plural consiglieri kōn-(ˌ)sil-ˈyer-ē How to pronounce consigliere (audio)
also consiglieres
: a person who serves as an adviser or counselor to the leader of a criminal organization
the consigliere of a Mafia family
I remember both the book and movie [The Godfather] portrayed a sitdown of the dons. Everything was fine except for one thing—Don Corleone had an Irish consigliere. It could never happen.Vincent Teresa
also : someone (such as a powerful political consultant) who is being likened in some way to such an adviser
He played a key role in his dad's 1988 campaign, acting as the family consigliere and learning the arts of war from the late Republican strategist Lee Atwater. David Hume Kennerly
Bruce Lindsey has always been the most trusted White House consigliere, the go-to guy for putting fires out swiftly—and discreetly. John Engen

Did you know?

Consigliere and the Godfather

If you're a fan of The Godfather series of movies, mention of the word consigliere may already have brought to mind the character Tom Hagen. Hagen, the Corleones' family lawyer, is famously dismissed by the Don's successor and son Michael Corleone because he is not a “wartime consigliere.” The word consigliere comes from Italian and has been a part of English since the 17th century; it was originally used of someone who served on a council in Italy. Currently, it most commonly refers to advisers to the Mafia—a use that first appeared in English in a document from a 1963 session of the U.S. Senate. It is also used more generally for someone who is likened in some way to such an adviser.

Examples of consigliere in a Sentence

the President's trusted consigliere and chief political strategist
Recent Examples on the Web Kenner arrived on the case with street cred in the hip-hop community and a reputation as an effective consigliere to the biggest names in ’90s West Coast rap. Michael Ames, Vulture, 24 Jan. 2024 Warren Buffett’s closest friend and consigliere for six decades, the billionaire vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway died Tuesday at age 99 in a California hospital. Jason Zweig, WSJ, 28 Nov. 2023 There is even less hubbub about David Leavy, the longtime consigliere who was recently installed to oversee business affairs. Brian Steinberg, Variety, 19 July 2023 The 46-year-old Fujimaru is considered the consigliere of natural wine in Japan, a country in thrall to the category, if not to its own wine-making abilities. Adam Erace, Travel + Leisure, 25 July 2023 Recently, however, he’s become a consigliere to companies nervous about election unrest. Zach Helfand, The New Yorker, 9 Nov. 2020 His profile elevated, Getler became a kind of consigliere to a small but lively segment of the treasure-hunting community focused on the KGC. Popular Mechanics, 14 Apr. 2023 Trump’s deputy budget director at the time was Russell Vought, now the House GOP’s debt limit consigliere. Pablo Manríquez, The New Republic, 13 Apr. 2023 Stanley, who died last week, at seventy-four, after a long illness, was at the height of his fame: a regular on the Charlie Rose show, a consultant to Ken Burns’s documentary on jazz, a consigliere to the trumpeter Wynton Marsalis for the concert series Jazz at Lincoln Center. Adam Shatz, The New York Review of Books, 29 Sep. 2020

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'consigliere.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Italian, from consiglio advice, counsel, from Latin consilium — more at counsel

First Known Use

1963, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of consigliere was in 1963


Dictionary Entries Near consigliere

Cite this Entry

“Consigliere.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Apr. 2024.

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