con·​sig·​li·​e·​re | \ kōn-(ˌ)sil-ˈye-re How to pronounce consigliere (audio) , -ˈyer-ē; kän-(ˌ)si-glē-ˈye-rā How to pronounce consigliere (audio) , -rē, -ˈyer \
plural consiglieri\ kōn-​(ˌ)sil-​ˈyer-​ē How to pronounce consiglieri (audio) ; kän-​(ˌ)si-​glē-​ˈye-​rē \ also consiglieres

Definition of consigliere

: 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

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Consigliere and the Godfather

If you're a fan of The Godfather series of movies, the character Tom Hagen may have already come to mind. 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 our language since the 17th century; it was originally used of someone who served on a council in Italy. Currently, it is most commonly used to designate 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 often used generally of a political or financial adviser, or any other trusted adviser for that matter.

Examples of consigliere in a Sentence

the President's trusted consigliere and chief political strategist
Recent Examples on the Web Others believe she's being propped up to become more than just a North Korean consigliere, but fill a role more like a vice president: a big player who enjoys the confidence of her brother and can help ease his workload. Joshua Berlinger, CNN, "Chaos in the Koreas sees Kim Jong Un's sister emerge stronger than ever," 18 June 2020 The president’s Middle East consigliere, Jared Kushner, sees the country’s crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman, as an oil-important ally against Iran and potential ally for Israel. The Economist, "Lexington The limits of energy independence," 23 Apr. 2020 For more than a decade, Mantel has immersed her readers in the life of Thomas Cromwell, the son of a blacksmith who rose to become the consigliere of Henry VIII and architect of the English Reformation. New York Times, "11 New Books We Recommend This Week," 12 Mar. 2020 The latest revelations do not, however, augur well for the credibility of Mr Barr, whom Democrats already consider more a presidential consigliere than an impartial official thanks to his partisan handling of the Russia investigation. The Economist, "Did Donald Trump urge Scott Morrison to help probe the Russia investigation?," 1 Oct. 2019 His consigliere Giuliani is still pursuing shady characters in Kyiv who will give him fake facts for a price. Trudy Rubin, Twin Cities, "Trudy Rubin: Voices from Kyiv: Trump’s impeachment defense is based on lies about Ukraine," 22 Dec. 2019 These corporate consiglieres, who advise on mergers and underwrite securities, oversee a venture-capital portfolio worth several hundred million dollars, according to people familiar with the matter. Peter Rudegeair, WSJ, "Goldman Sachs Bankers Moonlight as Venture Capitalists," 17 June 2018 Anupam Kher wrote on Twitter, making sure in his tweet to thank God, the Indian government, BJP prime minister Narendra Modi, and Modi’s sinister consigliere, home minister Amit Shah. Siddhartha Deb, The New Republic, "India’s Looming Ethno-Nationalist Catastrophe," 7 Aug. 2019 On the whole, apart from a brief glimmer of promise late last year when Congress wrested three Hindi heartland states from the BJP, the Nehru-Gandhi scion has proved no match for Mr. Modi and his chief consigliere, BJP President Amit Shah. Sadanand Dhume, WSJ, "It’s Game Over for the Gandhis as a Political Dynasty Dies," 11 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'consigliere.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of consigliere

1963, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for consigliere

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

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The first known use of consigliere was in 1963

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Last Updated

1 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Consigliere.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jul. 2020.

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