John Florio

  • Translator
  • Lexicographer
  • Linguist
  • Poet

John Florio (1552–1625), was an English linguist, poet, writer, translator, lexicographer, and royal language tutor at the Court of James I. He is recognised as the most important Renaissance humanist in England. He contributed 1,149 words to the English language, placing third after Chaucer (with 2,012 words) and Shakespeare (with 1,969 words). He was the first translator of Montaigne into English, the first translator of Boccaccio into English and he wrote the first comprehensive Italian–English dictionary.


The representative humanist of the Elizabethan age.

Translator, teacher, secretary, lexicographer and encyclopedist, stylist, interpreter, book collector, philologist, and philosopher: John Florio was one of the most prodigious and learned scholars of the Renaissance. He was patronized by the Earl of Leicester and Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton, perhaps also patron of Shakespeare; he was an official “Groom of the Privy Chamber” reader in Italian to Prince Henry and tutor to Princess Elizabeth, afterwards Queen Anne of Denmark; he numbered Sir Edward Dyer, Fulke Greville, John Lyly, and Stephen Gosson among his pupils; his works were prefaced with commendatory poems by such men as Samuel Daniel, John Thorius, and Matthew Gwinne; he was the friend of Ben Jonson, Nicholas Breton, Richard Hakluyt, Theodore Diodati, Gabriel Harvey, Edmund Spenser, and Giordano Bruno.


John Florio's Works

first fruits


First Fruits is John Florio’s first work, published in London in 1578 at 25 years old. Entitled “Florio his firste fruites which yeelde familiar speech, merie prouerbes, wittie sentences, and […]



Second Fruits is John Florio’s second work. Entitled Second Frutes to be gathered of twelve trees, of diverse but delightful tastes to the tongues of Italian and English (1591), it […]



¶ A WORLD OF WORDS: A TRAILBLAZING ENTERPRISE While he was engaged in the service of Henry Wriothesley, Florio produced a work which remains a landmark in the history of […]


John Florio's life