\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

Other words from dean


dean intransitive verb
deanship \-ˌship \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for dean

Synonyms: Noun

elder, elder statesman, senior

Antonyms: Noun

baby, junior

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

Syracuse's dean of students said the school will meet with some of the 18 students today to decide on punishment. CBS News, "New video shows Syracuse frat members pretending to sexually assault disabled man," 23 Apr. 2018 The West Aurora School Board also approved the hiring of Jennifer Legris as a new dean of students at West Aurora High School. Linda Girardi, Aurora Beacon-News, "New principal for Aurora elementary school," 11 July 2018 His pay as dean has not been determined yet, said a school spokeswoman. Gabrielle Russon,, "UCF hospitality school chief retiring, honored at celebration," 6 June 2018 One recruit, a Californian chemist named Jay Siegel, became dean of the School of Pharmaceutical Science and Technology at Tianjin University. Author: Ben Guarino, Emily Rauhala, William Wan, Anchorage Daily News, "China challenges American dominance of science," 4 June 2018 Rounding out the reunion is Valerie Lash, who founded Rep Stage and is currently dean of arts and humanities at Howard Community College. David Sturm, Columbia Flier, "Rep Stage wraps with wild 'West'," 26 Apr. 2018 Hill is the dean of NFL sports writers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. David Humphrey, star-telegram, "Here's your Texas-style 2018 NFL Draft guide | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 20 Apr. 2018 Elizondo is the dean of the Commissioners Court, having held the Precinct 2 seat for 30 uninterrupted years. Gilbert Garcia, San Antonio Express-News, "Elizondo chided for repeated tardiness at Commissioners Court," 7 Apr. 2018 First baseman Ryan Zimmerman is the dean of Nats players, entering his 14th year in a Washington uniform. Tom Groeschen,, "Cincinnati Reds fans would be thrilled to win 97 games, but in Washington that might get you fired," 30 Mar. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about dean

Dictionary Entries near dean






dean's list


Statistics for dean

Last Updated

11 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for dean

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for dean



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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on dean

What made you want to look up dean? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make amends

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!