AskDefine | Define cicerone

Dictionary Definition

cicerone n : a guide who conducts and informs sightseers [also: ciceroni (pl)]

User Contributed Dictionary



Via from Cicero, the Roman orator.


  • /ʧiʧeˈrone/
  • a RP1 /ˌʧɪʧəˈɹəʊni/
  • a RP2 /ˌsɪsəˈɹəʊni/


  1. A guide who shows people around tourist sights.
    • 2006, Thomas Pynchon, Against the Day, Vintage 2007, p. 279:
      “First,” advised their cicerone in the matter, Professor Svegli of the University of Pisa, “try to forget the usual picture in two dimensions.”




  1. A guide who shows people around tourist sights.
  2. A know-it-all or smart ass.

Extensive Definition

Cicerone is an old term for a guide, one who conducts visitors and sightseers to museums, galleries, etc., and explains matters of archaeological, antiquarian, historic or artistic interest. The word is presumably taken from Marcus Tullius Cicero, as a type of learning and eloquence. The New English Dictionary finds examples of the use earlier in English than Italian, the earliest quotation being from Joseph Addison's Dialogue on Medals (published posthumously 1726). It appears that the word was first applied to learned antiquarians who show and explain to foreigners the antiquities and curiosities of the country (quotation of 1762 in the New English Dictionary).
The word Cicerone (pronounced sis-uh-rohn) has been chosen to designate those with proven expertise in selecting, acquiring and serving today’s wide range of beers. The titles “Certified Cicerone” and “Master Cicerone” are protected certification trademarks. Only those who have passed the requisite test of knowledge and tasting skill can call themselves a Cicerone.

External links

  • Cicerone Guide Books A UK based publisher of over 260 award-winning guide books for walking, trekking, cycling and mountaineering covering the UK, Europe and worldwide. Cicerone also publish a range and outdoor skills and techniques guides.
  • A Chicago based organization. The Cicerone Certification Program seeks to improve beer quality by certifying the knowledge and tasting skills of those who sell and serve beer.
  • Cicerone UA Virtual visit to the University of Alicante
cicerone in Spanish: Cicerone
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