The presence of cyanide ions in surface water is not only caused by industrial waste but also by biological processes. Owing to the extreme toxicity of cyanide in physiological systems and its widespread presence in the environment, considerable attention has been given to the development of methods for the detection of cyanide. Among the most simple, inexpensive and rapid methods to detect cyanide ions are chemosensors that rely on fluorometric and colorimetric responses. This review, which focuses on CN- fluorescence and colorimetric chemosensors that have been developed since 2010, follows a format in which the sensors are classified according to their structural features and reaction mechanisms. Finally, a general overview of the design of fluorometric and colorimetric chemosensors for CN- is provided.