Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day


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Build your vocabulary with Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day! Each day a Merriam-Webster editor offers insight into a fascinating new word -- explaining its meaning, current use, and little-known details about its origin.



September 21st, 2016

Episode 654 of 923 episodes

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for September 21, 2016 is: consigliere \kohn-sil-YEH-reh\ noun : counselor, adviser Examples: "Luisi’s goal was to create his own family in Boston, with Guarente as his underboss and Gentile as his consigliere." — Stephen Kurkjian and Shelley Murphy, The Boston Globe, 26 July 2016 "In any event, it appears that Shari has turned her attention to removing the other impediments to absolute control. She booted Dauman from the Viacom board but kept his consigliere Tom Dooley, Viacom’s chief operating officer, in place." — William D. Cohan, Vanity Fair, 20 June 2016 Did you know? 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.

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