\ˈdēn \

Definition of dean 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : the head of the chapter of a collegiate or cathedral church

b : a Roman Catholic priest who supervises one district of a diocese

2a : the head of a division, faculty, college, or school of a university

b : a college or secondary school administrator in charge of counseling and disciplining students


biographical name
\ˈdēn \

Definition of Dean (Entry 2 of 2)

Sir Patrick 1909–1994 British diplomat

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Other Words from dean


dean intransitive verb
deanship \-​ˌship \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for dean

Synonyms: Noun

doyen, elder, elder statesman, éminence grise, nestor, senior

Antonyms: Noun

baby, junior

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Examples of dean in a Sentence


She's the dean of the university's business school. the dean of liberal arts

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Professional fluoride treatments help remineralize your teeth when plaque has damaged that protective enamel, Mark S. Wolff, D.D.S., Ph.D., dean at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, tells SELF. Korin Miller, SELF, "Is It Actually Possible to Get Rid of Cavities Without Fillings?," 17 Oct. 2018 But even subtle differences in criteria may reveal something about a college’s values, or at least those of its admissions dean. Amy Harmon, New York Times, "College Admission Is Not a Personality Contest. Or Is It?," 15 June 2018 In his role as interim AD, Wu will still retain his associate dean of students title, but his time and attention will be fully focused on athletics throughout the 2018-19 academic year., "Digest (May 25): Jockey Alex Cintron returns six months after spill," 25 May 2018 The case was referred to his college dean for further investigation. Karen Herzog, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Four UWM teachers found responsible for sexual harassment since 2013 no longer work there," 25 Apr. 2018 Former MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine dean William Strampel faces multiple unspecified charges, according to the Detroit Free Press, which first reported his arrest. Dan Gartland,, "Former Michigan State Dean, Larry Nassar’s Boss, Arrested," 26 Mar. 2018 After his time as attorney general, Butterworth has practiced law, served as a law school dean, and was secretary of the state Department of Children and Families for Gov. Charlie Crist, who was a Republican at the time. Anthony Man,, "Broward’s Bob Butterworth endorses Gwen Graham governor bid," 26 Mar. 2018 Earlier this year, Steve Carlsen, dean and rector at Christ Church Cathedral and member of the Indianapolis Congregation Action Network served chaired and gave opening remarks at a Faith in Indiana event in support of Dreamers and DACA. Justin L. Mack, Indianapolis Star, "What you need to know about Indianapolis' Christ Church Cathedral that put Jesus in a cage," 3 July 2018 Kelly Brown Douglas, the canon theologian at Washington National Cathedral in the District and dean of Episcopal Divinity School at Union Theological Seminary, served on the committee recommending a change to gender-neutral language. Julie Zauzmer, Washington Post, "Is God male? The Episcopal Church debates whether to change its Book of Common Prayer.," 3 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dean.' 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 dean


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for dean


Middle English deen, from Anglo-French deen, deien, from Late Latin decanus chief of ten, from Greek dekanos, from deka ten — more at ten

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Statistics for dean

Last Updated

4 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for dean

The first known use of dean was in the 13th century

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English Language Learners Definition of dean

: a person who is in charge of one of the parts of a university (such as a college or school)

: a person whose job is to give advice to the students in a college or high school and to make sure that they obey the school's rules

: a person who has more experience in or knowledge about a particular profession, subject, etc., than anyone or almost anyone


\ˈdēn \

Kids Definition of dean

1 : a church official in charge of a cathedral

2 : the head of a section (as a college) of a university the dean of the medical school

3 : an official in charge of students or studies in a school or college the dean of women

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More from Merriam-Webster on dean

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dean

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dean

Spanish Central: Translation of dean

Nglish: Translation of dean for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dean for Arabic Speakers

Comments on dean

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to make faulty or ineffective

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